What if there was a way to dramatically improve parental involvement in our schools, improve financial oversight, put more money into classrooms, reduce bureaucracy, and better personalize education for children?

At the 2014 Agency-Based Education conference, I tried to articulate what I believe is a reasonable roadmap toward achieving this objective.

Total Transformation – A Roadmap to Local Control of Education (Download PDF of slides)

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Total Transformation – A Roadmap to Local Control of Education

About The Author


  • Melanie Abplanalp

    My children do not belong to the State of Utah nor the Federal Sept of Education. My children are a gift to me and it is my responsibility to raise them, not you!

  • Anna

    We need local control in education, parents need to be a stronger voice, and we need to greatly diminish administrators and overhead. The schools work for us, not visa versa.

  • Adele Kammeyer

    Parents, local educators and local school boards know more and care more about the children in their own areas. When local control is lost, the focus of the entities involved changes and becomes more about the bottom line than about what’s best for the students. And to be beholden to the NEA and /or the federal government, is the worst thing of all. Children are viewed as part of the collective and not as individuals.

  • Tamara Forsyth

    Here is what I wrote on a petition that I signed in opposition to common core: 1. I believe centralized and government-sponsored education is wrong because those in power in the government will dictate the curriculum. 2. I believe parents have the ultimate God-given right to decide what their children are taught and what they are being exposed to in the classroom. Children do not “belong” to the community. As Senator Madsen stated, they are sent to their parents from God, and the parents answer to God on how they are taught and raised, not to the government. 3. I believe that tracking citizens from birth is wrong and especially in the childhood years they should not end up being labeled because of where they fit on a graph. 4. I believe a child can and should have alternatives to good education that do not include the B.S. socialist ideals that are popping up in all the cc curriculum I have seen so far. They keep saying that we can choose our own curriculum, but I keep seeing assignments IN UTAH that are exactly in line with the garbage in cc. Parents should be allowed to see all curriculum materials and not have it hidden away in computers, and they should have the option to request a different assignment if the ones given violate their values or rights in any way. (i.e. Christians should not be required to study Islam or atheism and vice versa; alternatively, if Islam and atheism are taught, then all forms of religious freedom should be extended to students while at school including prayer and reading of scriptures). Those who oppose gay relationships should not have to have their children in classrooms that are required to preach so many positive gay affirmations per day; those types of propaganda and attempts at changing the values that kids learn at home have nothing to do with learning math, spelling, and grammar).

  • Ryan

    Oak, I think having more local school boards is a great idea. This proposal has a lot of merits. My main concern, however, is with the funding proposal. If school districts are funded by tax revenues from that district, what are small towns going to do? I think of the town of Blanding, for instance, where my brother-in-law is from. Blanding and other small towns like it wouldn’t have much money for education if all they received came from local tax revenues.

    • Oak Norton

      Thanks for commenting Ryan. The proposal isn’t to have everything funded just by local revenues. It’s to freeze the current taxing authorities as they are and then split all districts so that every high school is a district, and every single school gets 100% of the money that is being paid on their behalf right now. That school’s new local parent board then decides like a true board how to allocate the money. Initially it would be to maintain the status quo but as they grow into their new roles they can innovate at the school and do creative things. That school will still get funds from the state and county property taxes and any other source that exists in it’s current district structure, but now all those funds go straight to the school and the school has it’s own board to deal with issues.

  • Colleen Helms

    We need local control! My son has autism and common core does not work with the way his brain is wired. I am also a therapist at a mental health center for children on the spectrum and can tell you of the extreme frustration from common core that parents are experiencing. Kids are suffering and parents have no where to turn! Home schooling is becoming the only option. Most parents don’t have an option. PLEASE bring back local control. It is worth it for ALL of our children’s futures!

  • Jennifer Huefner

    I LOVE this idea of agency based education. It’s so American. Freedom! Innovation. Each child pursuing his/her God-given gifts and interests. The possibilities are endless.

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