Posted 2020-03-09

What’s new at ASDE? We are rising to a new level!

To support our continued growth, as we embark on ever more projects toward our mission of normalizing Self-Directed Education (SDE) and making it more available to more people, we have found it valuable to appoint our first Executive Director and to modify our membership policy.

Bria Bloom Appointed as Executive Director

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If you have interacted with the Alliance in any direct way over the three plus years of our existence, you have likely already had some communications with Bria Bloom. She has been our community manager, working on various ASDE projects, and has been most directly responsible for catalyzing the formation of the network of Local SDE Groups that are allied with us. The Alliance has now grown sufficiently, in membership and projects, that we need an executive director, and the Board unanimously and enthusiastically offered the position to Bria. We are delighted that she accepted. Her official appointment began February 1st. She is the person who keeps an eye, or really much more than an eye, on all of our projects. She is also the person whom you will usually contact first when you offer to volunteer on Alliance projects or have questions about the Alliance that are not addressed on the website.

Bria seems to have been born for this position. She grew up unschooled, always in charge of her own education, and has been an advocate for SDE and youth liberation throughout her life. She is also a mom whose stepson is self-educating through, in part, attendance at a center for SDE. She and her family live in Portland, OR, where, in addition to being a mom and our Executive Director, she is a facilitator and founder of PDX Flying Squads (a community for self-directed young people in Portland), a writer, is supporting the brand new Alder Commons: A Hub for Self-Directed Work and Play, and is a facilitator of workshops and discussions on topics such as deschooling, facilitating SDE, parenting within SDE, adultism, and building authentic relationships with young people.

Our New Subscription and Membership Policy

Subscribers are people who have provided us with their email address and a desire to receive our Newsletter and Tipping Points Magazine. There is no cost for subscription, and subscribers now have full access to our website, including the Resource Directory and the Forums (though subscribers who access the Forums will be directed to register and invited to become members).

Members, in our new policy, are people who help to support ASDE projects financially. Members, of course, have all of the benefits that subscribers have, and, in addition, have the good feeling (accompanied by a free, invisible halo) that they are helping to support financially a cause in which they very much believe. To become a member, you click on the Join button on the Website and enter some information including the amount that you feel you can afford to donate, either on a monthly or yearly basis (we prefer monthly). Membership now must be renewed each year unless you are a monthly donor. If you joined more than a year ago and have not yet renewed, you may receive a reminder from us soon.

We understand full well that few families involved with SDE are wealthy and some have serious difficulty making ends meet from month to month, so the amount of donation to join can be very small, but we ask all members, as they renew membership each year, to think about what they reasonably can give, without real sacrifice to their family, and then to give that amount. We are like Audubon, but instead of birds our cause is children’s freedom from coercive schooling and their right to learn in their own natural ways. Like Audubon, we ask people to join and give because they believe in the cause and recognize that we are working hard, and in many ways successfully, for it.

In addition to the good feeling that comes from donating, we are considering other perks for membership. One that we have already decided upon is that members will be invited to biannual online meetings with the Board of Directors, where they can hear directly from us about our projects and can provide feedback and new ideas. You will hear more about that soon.

Reminder About the Book Cover Illustration Contest for Young People in SDE

We are beginning to receive submissions for this contest, open to young people under age 18 who are involved in SDE. Submissions are due by March 31, 2020. For more information and for the form to accompany your submissions, click here.

Some of Our Ongoing Projects

Here is a list of some of our regular, ongoing projects. The links allow you to learn more. If you are interested in volunteering to help on any of them, contact Bria.

Local SDE Groups. Are you looking to join a group of like-minded people and families in your geographical area, or might you be interested in starting such a group?

Library Initiative. Would you like to contribute to our grant-supported research project aimed at learning how public libraries can become centers for SDE?

Tipping Points Magazine. Do you have editorial skills you would like to contribute, or would you like to submit an article for possible publication?

Resource Directory. Might you like to help us continue to build and maintain our directory of SDE schools, learning centers, and other resources for SDE?

Forums. Might you like to help monitor and facilitate the discussions on our Forum pages?

Social Media. Might you like to help maintain our Facebook page or other social media by suggesting material to post?

Research Network. If you are conducting research relevant to SDE, you might want to join our research network, which provides a vehicle for SDE researchers to communicate with one another about their research and generate new research into SDE.

Outreach and Publicity. Might you be interested in developing an outreach program aimed at getting more information about SDE into popular media and/or attracting new members to ASDE?

Fundraising. We are looking for volunteers who can help us locate grants and other sources of funding, beyond our immediate membership, that could help support SDE schools and centers and some of our ASDE projects.

Young People as Advocates. We are looking for more young people who would like to get more involved in advocacy for Self-Directed Education, or would like to share their writing, art work, or other media through Tipping Points Magazine.

Sincerely,

Peter Gray
ASDE Board President