For the Love of Learning – Accessibility to Alternative Education- Epi#35

For the Love of Learning Episode 35



Show Title:

Accessibility to Alternative Education

Monday October 12, 2015  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday October 13, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST

Special Guests:

Jerry Mintz
Justo Méndez Arámburu
Joel Turske


“Choosing a school for a child is one of the most important decisions parents make. The school — its teachers, curriculum, educational philosophy, and values both explicit and implicit — will affect the child’s day-to-day life. It will help shape the child’s personality, view of life, behavior, and destiny as an adult. And it will also deeply affect the lives of the parents and the life of the family as a whole.”

~Ronald Koetzsch

Children are not all the same therefore it is natural to consider educational alternatives based on the needs of an individual child and their family, especially for those who do not resonate with the ridgid model of traditional schools. Currently, mainstream education reaches perhaps 80% of the population. But what other alternatives are available? And why do only 20% of the population opt for a non- traditional approach?

In 1994, MacMillan Publishing released the Almanac Of Education Choices in which 6,000 progressive and holistic schools and homeschooling resource centers were listed in the United States and even more throughout the world. Today in 2015, there are perhaps double that number in terms of alternative options available.

Just what does the term “alternative education” refer to?

Alternative education encompasses many different pedagogical approaches differing from that of the mainstream pedagogy. Most alternative education organizations tend to lean toward less rigidity within philosophy, organization, curriculum and learning modalities based on the values, beliefs and experiences of the local community it serves.

Tonight we will hear from a panel of visionaries who believe alternatives in education are an important part of the cultural framework. We will also examine issues surrounding accessibility to alternative education from both practical and perceived perspectives. Join us for this fascinating conversation.


Bios of Tonight’s Guests:

Jerry Mintz

jerrymintz-200x300Jerry Mintz has been a leading voice in the alternative school movement for over thirty years. He was a public school teacher and principal, and, for seventeen years, an independent alternative school principal. In 1989, he founded the Alternative Education Resource Organization and has helped found over 75 alternative schools and organizations. He has been on National Public Radio, the major TV networks, in The New York Times, Newsday, and many other publications. He was Editor-in-Chief for the Handbook of Alternative Education, and the Almanac of Education Choices. He is the author of No Homework and Recess All Day: How to Have Freedom and Democracy in Education . Co-editor of Turning Points: 35 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories. He appeared in two recent TEDx talks. He continues to lecture and consult around the world.


Justo Méndez Arámburu

justoJusto Méndez Arámburu is the founder and president of Nuestra Escuela. This educational project is based on an education of liberation and is aimed at youths who have been marginalized by the education system and have not yet completed the 4th year of secondary school.

The service model of Nuestra Escuela has been award winning and has been studied by various professional institutions and universities of the country. It is a training center for future social workers, teachers and psychologists among others.

For his efforts and commitment for education in Puerto Rico Justo Méndez Arámburu has received various prizes and tributes by the National Association of Social Workers, the Puerto Rican Senate and the House of Representatives among others.

Justo together with Nuestra Escuela was the co-organizer of the 20th Annual International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC 2012) and the one who organized the celebration of the First Meeting of the Americas and the Caribbean in March 2012. In this first gathering more than 100 representatives of 15 countries of America came together to propose and decide on topics and actions of common interest, expressed in a manifesto. This document established the yearly celebration of the international congress: Encuentro de Nuestra América (ENA). His vision was fundamental for the development of public politics that promote holistic educational services for at risk youths. As founder of the Alianza para la Educación Alternativa, Justo has built a strong network for the support of alternative education. Along these lines he pushed public politics that is aimed at enhancing the educational options of youths in Puerto Rico such as the project CASA and the passing of a national law on alternative education. Moreover he’s the first professor teaching a course focusing on alternative education that is offered at the faculty of pedagogy Eugenio Maria de Hostos at Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Justo Méndez Arámburu is a tireless patriot who believes that together we can achieve the state of the world that we want and deserve.


Joel Turske

joelUpon discovering democratic education Joel realized the deficiencies of his conventional school experience. Through further reflection it has become apparent to him that he learned much more in his 20’s via interest-based and need-based learning. He has been a staff at the Philly Free School since 2011 where one of his many focuses is finding ways to make the school available to all who find it. The Philly Free School is a democratic learning environment, modeled after the Sudbury Valley School, which serves students ages 4-19.

How Do They Know What They Don’t Know?  – blog post


Tonight’s Special Guest Host:

Anna Brix Thomsen

AnnaWorking as a teacher and an educational sociologist, Anna Brix Thomsen has more than 15 years experience in the education system having worked in both primary and special needs education as well as as a social worker. She holds an undergraduate degree in pedagogy and a graduate degree in educational sociology from Aarhus University in Denmark and Stockholm University in Sweden. Anna is the co-founder of Brix Education, a company that works with supporting individuals, and children especially to develop their unique potential to the fullest.

Anna is a contributor to the working class think tank The Hampton Institute’s department of education and has contributed to the independent online sociological journal

Anna has co-authored the The International Handbook of Progressive Education and is working on an upcoming book on unschooling and deschooling within the school system.

Anna calls herself “a guerrilla teacher by day and a social media activist by night”. She documents her journey as a teacher on various social media sites to contribute to a meaninful and transformative discussion about education.




Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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