"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Agency Based Education - The Ultimate Local Control

Today as we go to the polls to exercise our right to vote, most of us feel a sense of accomplishment. This is the time we can stop complaining about government and actually do something about it. We tend to feel better when we are proactive and do something.

In the world of politics we can either vote for someone who believes as we do, or spend time after they're elected trying to convince them that our point of view is best. Then we must wait for them to do their legislative or regulatory thing to achieve our goals. This is not a proactive approach and does not always work out for us. In fact, lately, it seems we rarely get the results we want. However, this is not all we can do about issues that we are passionate about. Sometimes, we must ignore politics all together and act locally to achieve the ends we want.

Agency Based Education is an organization that has a different blue print for education than the modern public school system. They have deconstructed the purpose of education to be the place "in which individuals exercise choice to exert their faculties to learn to be moral, self-governing, contributing citizens of good character; identify their gifts and talents to be empowered to overcome barriers in pursuit of their life’s missions; and maintain a free society to ensure these opportunities exist for future generations."

To achieve these goals they believe that the education system:
  1. Must be based in choice and not compulsion
  2. Helps develop an internal moral compass as one fosters a recognition and love of truth
  3. Recognizes that truth best inspires when sought from original source materials
  4. Should be individualized to allow children to identify and develop their gifts and talents and discover their life’s missions
  5. Must recognize that parents have the sovereign stewardship to guide their children’s educational journey
Point #5 is the key to this type of education. You can't get any more local with education control than the parent. And this approach blows the doors of choice wide open. Choice is not limited to the mandatory public (or charter) schools available.

It must be noted that origination of the organization and its work is based in the book “Teach the Children, An Agency Approach to Education,” by Neil Flinders. Their target audience is in Utah. On their website they state, "Neil’s book is a magnum opus reflecting a lifetime of studying educational principles and theories. Although the book reflects a strong presence of Neil’s religion (LDS), the directions presented for achieving the results of an agency-based education are non-specific to a religion and can be implemented by any teacher or parent who is concerned with teaching children to take personal responsibility for their education by doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right reason."

So go ahead and vote for your favorite candidates today, but instead of focusing on what they promise government will do to educate your child, consider Agency Based Education's beliefs about education and think about what you believe the purpose of education is and what can you do to help your child achieve those goals.

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