Principles of an Agency-Based Education

In 2010 when this Agency-Based Education non-profit organization was formed, we held a meeting with about 80 people from around the state to address a number of questions and answers about education. We developed a mission statement and a set of core principles in order to help us ensure that everything we did was centered in core principles. This section of the website will explain these principles in greater depth as well as explain other core principles. The issues section of the website will show the practical application of these principles in a variety of settings, both educationally, and legislatively.

To get started and view our mission statement and principles, click here to learn about an agency-based education.

5 Core Principles of an Agency-Based Education

  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

Many other true principles of education exist and can be found in all forms and venues of education. False principles should be exposed to the light of truth and then eliminated in favor of true principles.

Other principles of education:

Fathers and mothers are endowed by and accountable to their Creator with the unalienable right and responsibility to love, care for, nurture, teach, protect, and provide for their own children.

Under Utah law, parents have a “fundamental liberty interest” in the education of their children, meaning, they hold supreme authority and responsibility over the education their child participates in. Since the state mandates free and public education for each child, parents must be given control of the type of education their child receives.

Government and public schools should be accountable to families, not families accountable to government and the schools, nor local schools accountable to government as they should be accountable to families.

American education has been most successful when formal schooling is considered to be: an individual function; a family obligation; a church responsibility; a state interest. -Neil Flinders

An education should be adapted by the parents to the age, capacity, interests, and condition of each child.

Compulsory education is not possible, only compulsory attendance. Substituting one person’s agency by force for another person’s agency is possible, but hardly desirable. Such policies violate personal civil liberty and the purpose and nature of personal agency.

People should work out their own destinies without government interference. Society should not prescribe a curriculum for adults nor for children. Individuals should be allowed the freedom to set their own goals and operate as independent human beings.

Education—both learning and teaching—are driven by human agency.  The learner is in charge of learning; the teacher is in charge of teaching. Parents must be in charge of the content delivered to their children.

The quality of a school is a poor indicator of later success in life (Christopher Jencks via John Taylor Gatto). The quality of family life is a very good predictor of later success. Governments should avoid adding to economic, social, and educational burdens on families. (protect family time and resources)

Children become passive and indifferent when technology establishes goals, work schedules, asks questions, and monitors their performance. Technology is a tool for students’ use and should be limited in the classroom in order to let children use their own creativity, set their own goals, and work to achieve them.  Parents should be able to select courses for their students that do not require technology for required coursework.

Children are NOT assets of the state, or human capital. They are an “heritage of the Lord,” to fathers and mothers, and are self-determining free agents who can accept responsibility for their own education.

In a diverse global economy, we should maximize the range and freedom of study children have in order to diversify their educational experiences. One-size-fits-all education creates a centrally planned workforce, not a classically educated populace.

Early education outside the home separates children from families before children are sufficiently mature to engage in structured learning. It assumes “stakeholder” authority and governmental data gathering rights over the very young.  The biology of human nature is developmental. The normal preservation of human life moves from a dependent infancy to independent adulthood.

Schools best prepare students for life when they move students toward fully independent learning.

Guardianship, personal or governmental, needs to be viewed as remedial and a temporary substitute for the benefit of children who are in limited circumstances, not as a replacement of these principles in framing general educational policy.

Duties of the state board that can be handled by local boards, should be transferred to their control. Decentralization of power is critical to maintaining parental involvement and developing a strong sense of community in our schools.

Lack of parental involvement leads government to conclude it must step in and replace the parents. Overreach by government which removes true local control leads parents to apathy and frustration. This is a death spiral to bondage. The solution is to restore local control, return the burden to parents, and allow parents the right to succeed or fail.

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