November 2012 Agency-Based Education Conference

All presentations can be viewed on our YouTube channel or through the links below to the individual presentations.

On Saturday, November 17th, 2012, over 60 people met and enjoyed presentations on agency-based education related topics.


The speakers presenting at the conference happen to all be LDS and there are some LDS themes in a few of the talks, but this was not by design. Just apply the principles taught within your own framework of belief.

The conference speakers included:

Oak Norton, Ending Compulsory Education

A brief history of compulsory education, problems with it, and how removing truancy and compulsory education laws fix a host of problems in our current education system.
Link to presentation

Jack Monnett, Original Education

The LDS Church has always had a keen interest in education–how, what, who, and why to teach.  All of these issues were tackled by the early Church and principles were formed with varying degrees of success.  Many of the formative principles have been set aside, however, in favor of modern methodology and the all-consuming role of public schools.  As in so much that is “new and improved,” it is well to study the original model to determine what was intended at the outset.  Often the passage of time and new add-ons that enter into the educational arena do little more than to complicate a doable, straight-forward approach to teaching.
Link to presentation

Gayle Ruzicka, Homeschooling

We started home schooling in 1979 and I loved it. Our family was forever changed and we became closer and happier. Where we lived in Idaho we were one of the first families to receive “permission” to home school our children. We were pretty much alone and on our own, we were pioneers. That made it exciting for our family. We all learned to defend our family decision and became stronger in the process. I have had people who are considering home schooling ask me so many questions and they always say but can I? The answer is always yes you can.
Link to presentation

Janet Summit, Community Schools

What would an agency-based school look like?  This last year I have worked with a co-chair to set up an agency-based education school in our Cache Valley area.  Because our membership base draws from local homeschooling families, we have no attachment to public school, so we had the freedom to make it be exactly what we envisioned.   There is no testing, no homework is turned in unless the student and parent request feedback, and nothing to force learning.  Yet we are thriving, and have doubled our size in two semesters, with about 26 families involved, and 85 children of all ages.  We have a group of about 30 teens, which is what I am most proud of. Parents teach all our classes, and we have classes for all ages of children.  We have no budget at all, and do not charge for anything other than the building rental, insurance, and actual supplies for each class. In this workshop I will highlight what we have done, the benefits of doing this type of school, how it can be replicated, things that work, things that don’t work, and our experiences.
Link to presentation

Jesse Fisher, Freedom Education

Three Grand Enticements for Abandoning Compulsory Education for Freedom-Based Education:
1. Trusting the Genius of our Children’s Creator,
2. A Long-Term Permanent Solution to Unemployment, and
3. The Preservation of Political Freedom in America.

Jesse Fisher is a recovering public school teacher, founded a freedom-based private school in 1992, serves on the board of the Utah 912 States Rights Coalition, and is the founder of the Freedom Preservation Foundation. He enjoys presenting about the history of the Prussian School Model in America, its harmful effects on our free society, and a pro-liberty alternative. See for more information.
Link to presentation

Celia Johnson, Paradigm High School-Agency Based Education in Public schools

Agency education in a charter school:  The Bruises and Benefits of Riding a Live Horse on Top of a Merry-Go-Round.
Link to presentation

Tammy Hulse, Liberty’s Hope youth achievement program

Liberty’s Hope is a youth achievement program based on the biblical pattern of human development. The program is designed to teach the principles of liberty, skills of self-reliance, and character development to build the leaders of tomorrow.  The four areas of achievement include the heart, mind, might and strength, the four components of the human soul.  This program is designed to do more than provide an intellectual understanding of the concepts explored; it is designed to encourage youth to transfer the information from the mind to the heart where it will impact character development, motivation, and emotional well-being.   A garden allegory provides the framework for this education model.  Youth are encouraged to plant seeds in the heart, nourish those seeds with great care, weed out and discard harmful distractions and share the harvest with others as skills are developed.
Link to presentation

Cherilyn Eagar, Raising Children in Truth and Light: A Gospel-Centered Education

History of Zion Institute, Raising Children in Truth and Light: A Gospel-Centered Education

In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Teach true principles across the curriculum in an environment of competing world views
  • Accelerate learning and increase literacy by applying gospel principles
  • Implement a home detoxification plan for the optimal academic environment
  • Teach by the Spirit and discern truth and error in today’s school curriculum

Cherilyn Eagar is a former teacher and educational researcher who has presented at national and local conferences on education policy.  She was a co-author with attorney Matt Hilton of Utah’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  In the mid-1990s she was affiliated with Zion Institute for Children, a pilot program of the BYU College of Education, whose seminars she helped develop with BYU professors and mentors Garr Cranney, Neil Flinders, Buddy Richards and project director, Pamela McCoy, summarized in this session. For more information go to or email

Jared & Denise Carmen, Classical vs. Progressive curriculum options

Jared reviews instructional materials for inclusion in Utah’s database system that schools access and choose materials from. His presentation shows some of the progressive materials being approved for use in Utah schools, and he and his wife Denise share quality classical education materials and resources.
Link to presentation

Alisa Ellis, Common Core’s Global Ties

Common Core is far more than a set of standards. It is the complete globalization of education. In this presentation, Alisa Ellis helps expose Common Core’s agenda in the words of those that have put it together.
Link to presentation