Education Revolution E-Newsletter 06.01.2010

To further support AERO please find below the whole contents of their latest e-newsletter. I’m sure readers will be interested in following up subscriptions (hard copy or PDF) to Education Revolution Magazine. You will also be interested in the Book Reviews. 

 1) Issue 59 of Education Revolution

The next issue of Education Revolution magazine is now being printed by our Pennsylvania printer, Brenneman Press, and boxes of the new magazines will arrive at our Long Island office next week to be distributed to our subscribers. This issue is fantastic, as you can see by the table of contents and by one of the short articles that we have reproduced in this issue (below). We appreciate the support you have given to AERO through our fundraiser and through the many books you have purchased during our holiday sales. Anyone who contributed or purchased books will get this issue and will at least get the PDF version in their e-mail. If you are not yet an AERO member/subscriber this would be a good time to start and to support AERO. You can buy something from the online bookstore, or go to the following site to get a PDF membership for only $10:

If you would like the print version and like to actually hold a magazine in your hands, go to this site:

As always, your support is very much appreciated. Jerry Mintz

Education Revolution Contents:
Being There with Jerry Mintz
From the Editor’s Desk by Ron Miller
Featured Articles
Auroville’s School Education Program: A Holistic Approach by Dr. Kalpana Vengopal and Priya Kumari
Reclaiming Our Freedom to Learn by Gustavo Esteva
The Centenary of the Execution of Francisco Ferrer i Guárdia by Jon Thoreau Scott
Education Should be a JOURNEY, not a Race A Waldorf-inspired Charter School by Meghan Mulqueen
Permaculture and Holistic Education: A Match Made in Heaven and Earth by Paul Freedman
A Homeschooler’s Adventure by Kai Higuchi
Education in the News
News Reports


 2) Why Don’t Students Like School? Well, Duhhh; Children Don’t Like School Because They Love Freedom. by Peter Gray, Psychology Today

Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College, is a specialist in developmental and evolutionary psychology and author of an introductory textbook, Psychology.

 Below is a summarization found in the latest issue of Education Revolution of Peter Gray’s post on a Psychology Today blog.  To view the full post, visit

 In a new book, Why Don’t Students Like School?, cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham argues that students don’t like school because their teachers don’t have a full understanding of certain cognitive principles and therefore don’t teach as well as they could. They don’t present material in ways that appeal best to students’ minds. Presumably, if teachers followed Willingham’s advice and used the latest information cognitive science has to offer about how the mind works, students would love school. Talk about avoiding the elephant in the room! Ask any schoolchild why they don’t like school and they’ll tell you: “School is prison.” They may not use those words, because they’re too polite, or maybe they’ve already been brainwashed to believe that school is for their own good and therefore it can’t be prison. But decipher their words and the translation generally is, “School is prison.” Willingham surely knows that school is prison. He can’t help but know it; everyone knows it. But here he writes a whole book entitled “Why Don’t Students Like School,” and not once does he suggest that just possibly they don’t like school because they like freedom, and in school they are not free.

 Everyone who has ever been to school knows that school is prison, but almost nobody says it. It’s not polite to say it. We all tiptoe around this truth, that school is prison, because telling the truth makes us all seem so mean. How could all these nice people be sending their children to prison for a good share of the first 18 years of their lives? How could our democratic government, which is founded on principles of freedom and self-determination, make laws requiring children and adolescents to spend a good portion of their days in prison? It’s unthinkable, and so we try hard to avoid thinking it. Or, if we think it, we at least don’t say it. At some level of their consciousness, everyone who has ever been to school knows that it is prison. How could they not know? But people rationalize it by saying (not usually in these words) that children need this particular kind of prison and may even like it if the prison is run well. If children don’t like school, according to this rationalization, it’s not because school is prison, but is because the wardens are not kind enough, or amusing enough, or smart enough to keep the children’s minds occupied appropriately.

 But anyone who knows anything about children and who allows himself or herself to think honestly should be able to see through this rationalization. Children, like all human beings, crave freedom. They hate to have their freedom restricted. To a large extent they use their freedom precisely to educate themselves. They are biologically prepared to do that. Children explore and play, freely, in ways designed to learn about the physical and social world in which they are developing. In school they are told they must stop following their interests and, instead, do just what the teacher is telling them they must do. That is why they don’t like school.
Children who are provided the tools for learning, including access to a wide range of other people from whom to learn, learn what they need to know–and much more–through their own self-directed play and exploration. There is no evidence at all that children who are sent to prison come out better than those who are provided the tools and allowed to use them freely. How, then, can we continue to rationalize sending children to prison? I think the educational establishment deliberately avoids looking honestly at the experiences of unschoolers and Sudbury Valley because they are afraid of what they will find. If school as prison isn’t necessary, then what becomes of this whole huge enterprise, which employs so many and is so fully embedded in the culture?

 3) Book Review: Wounded by School. Reviewed by Laura Lloyd-Smith, Ed.D.

You can order Wounded by School on AERO’s website at 

 Many professional educators will be stunned when they read Olson’s new book Wounded by School. While the ideas presented are intellectually stimulating, many results of her hundreds of interviews detailing people’s school experiences are painful to read. Olson, an educational consultant who holds a doctorate from Harvard Graduate School, discusses school “wounds” ranging from those that stem from the institution of school itself to those that are more concrete and experienced by students, parents and even teachers. The wounds that Olson describes are far reaching and include everyday losses of pleasure in learning, school ingrained beliefs that we are not smart or competent, painful and burning memories of shaming experiences in school that produce anxiety and as result, shut down the learning process, as well as chronic anger at teachers or other authority figures for not being “seen” in school (p. 19). Olson maintains that the most under-identified wounded children in our schools are those frequently labeled “average,” and as a result receive no special attention or instruction in schools, but rather just blend in and demand little of educators.

Many of the cited examples, including those related to creativity, compliance, underestimation and simply being labeled “average”, are described via a narrative interview with someone who had such an experience. In this way, Olson not only describes the nature of the wound but puts a face on it through the narrative example. Over a ten year span, Olson interviewed individuals about their school experiences; people of all different ages, races and professions, from all types of schools, and from all walks of life. She maintains that these experiences often have a consequential impact on the learning pattern. Moreover, such “injuries” may be the cause for underperformance and/or disengagement of many students, thus elevating the underlying wound to unique importance, not only for the parent but also for educational leaders and teachers.

Organized into two parts (Part I: “Broken” and Part II: “Healing”) and nine chapters, the book initially discusses the essence of what Olson refers to as school “wounds.” For example, in chapter 1 we are introduced to Delmar. Now a successful student at a charter high school in Massachusetts, Delmar had been arrested by the local police outside of his previous high school. “Traditional high school was largely a place of frustration and negative feedback for Delmar, in spite of his academic promise” (p. 16). He was frequently suspended for being tardy, even though he had to work part time to support himself. He credits the small size of his new school along with…

You can read the rest of the review on Education Review’s website:

4) On Motivation, Schools, and Post-Its: New Books for 2010. By Dana Bennis

 Below is an excerpt from a recent blog post by Dana Bennis on the Institute for Democratic Education in America’s website:

 Happy New Year! It’s 2010.

What better way to embrace the optimism and hope of the beginning of a new year than reading inspiring books?

I recently picked up two new books that speak to heart of why and how education ought to be more democratic. They carry a great deal of wisdom and practical ideas for schools and learning, and they both connect the value of greater voice in learning to the creation of a more vibrant society.

[Note, you can order Lives of Passion at a great price and view a nice video on our website at]

Lives of Passion, School of Hope, by Rick Posner (2009: Sentient Publications), profiles one of the most exciting and successful schools I know at supporting the intrinsic motivation that Pink describes: Jefferson County Open School (JCOS), a public school in Lakewood, Colorado, which I’ve had the great opportunity to visit.

Imagine going to this kind of school: in addition to typical classes, you can choose to enroll in a class called “Film Noir” or “Calculus for Poets,” you can arrange self-directed learning periods to pursue an independent project, you can attend a trip class that travels for 2-4 weeks, or you can schedule internships or attend college classes. You determine all of this yourself, with support from an adult advisor and other students. You are part of a school governance system that gives you and teachers equal voice on school-wide issues. And your key graduation requirement is to fulfill the “Rites of Passage,” carrying out six self-designed projects in the areas of Logical Inquiry, Global Awareness, and Career Exploration, among others.

That’s JCOS! (Though the school is K-12, that description was specific to the high school program). Posner, a long-time teacher and administrator at the school, offers us a glimpse into JCOS through his own reflections and those of the more than 400 alumni he surveyed. We see how the unique autonomy-supportive environment of JCOS nurtures a love for learning, helps students succeed at college and work, and develops in students a desire to create a better world.

Self-directed activity – or autonomy, voice, active engagement – is one of the most essential aspects of a democracy, and a basic human need. These two books show us the great value in aligning our businesses and schools with this basic need, and in working from our innate intrinsic motivation to be self-directed, to learn, and to improve ourselves and our society.

 5) Ouida Mintz Memorial Concert Video

Many of you may remember my mother, Ouida Mintz, who talked to many who called the AERO office. It is hard to believe she passed away more than three years ago. We still strongly feel her presence. Ouida was a former concert pianist who was a friend of Leonard Bernstein and subsequently taught more than 1000 piano students. She also helped many young concert pianists start their careers as the program director of the Association of Piano Teachers of Long Island. So, when we arranged a memorial concert for her at a Long Island theater, a staggering NINE world famous concert pianists agreed to perform at it. Also included in the program were excerpts from a musical she was writing about her life in music. Until now we have only sold the DVD of the concert privately, but we are now making a free Internet version available to you. Of course if you would like a better quality version the DVD is still available. Also, we still have a few dozen copies left of Ouida’s autobiography, My Friend Lenny, A Memoir of my life in music, with personal stories about Leonard Bernstein, Mike Wallace, Paul Simon and others. Enjoy!

 Click here to view the video:

Click here to find out more about My Friend Lenny:

Over 8,000 Subscribed!  Pass it on.

Education Revolution E-News
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