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A Transformational Model of Public Education

(To Counter the Counterfeit No Child Left Behind Law)

Posted: 2007-06-11

Lynn Stoddard offers a plan to help schools become accountable for skills communities value, skills that will truly help students grow as contributors to society. And he has a tool for assessing school effectiveness in reaching this goal, a great counter to what the federal government is piling on us in NCLB. Which is of more value to the parent of a second grader: his child's DIBELS score or whether the child is learning to ask good questions and developing the ability to work independently?

âThere is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake.ââ C. S. Lewis

In 1983 a National Commission on Excellence in Education issued a âNation at Risk Reportâ and set in motion a series of government-imposed reforms, all based on a false goal â student achievement in curriculum. The latest of these reforms, âNo Child Left Behind,â puts extra pressure on teachers to standardize students and ignore their diverse needs. Public school teaching is not viewed as a profession.

Contrast this with what happened at Hill Field Elementary School in northern Utah when some teachers decided to ask parents about their priorities for the education of their children. They discovered that parents hold other things in higher priority than student achievement in curriculum. Some things were more important to them than reading, writing and arithmetic. This finding led to a new concept â curriculum should not be viewed as a goal, but as a tool to help students grow in the three top priorities of parents. This concept has evolved to become a framework for authentic reform with four more priorities added as shown below:

The Main Goal and Purpose of Public Schools:

Develop great human beings to be contributors â not burdens -- to society.

Focus: 3 + 4 = 7 Priorities â The Dimensions of Human Greatness:

1. Identity
â Nurture positive human diversity. (phd) Help students learn who they are -- as individuals with unlimited potential, develop their unique talents and gifts to realize self-worth and develop a strong desire to be contributors to family, school, and community.

2. Inquiry â Stimulate curiosity; awaken a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature and for humankind. Help students develop the power to ask important, penetrating questions.

3. Interaction â Promote courtesy, caring, communication and cooperation.

4. Initiative â Foster self-directed learning, will power and self-evaluation.

5. Imagination â Nurture creativity and creative expression.

6. Intuition â Help students learn how to feel and recognize truth with their hearts as well as with their minds -- develop spirituality and humility.

7. Integrity â Develop honesty, character, morality and responsibility for self.

With these priorities, reading, writing, mathematics and other disciplines are viewed, not as goals, but as tools to help students grow in the dimensions of greatness and be valuable contributors to society. (Resulting bonus: Greater student achievement in curriculum.)


Public school teaching becomes a profession when we hold teachers accountable for nurturing the 7 dimensions of greatness. This frees teachers to decide, with parents and students, what curriculum is best for each unique learner. (See tool on back of this page.)

This paper is a condensation and extension of the booklet, School Reform from the Bottom Up, which, in turn, is a condensation of the book, Educating for Human Greatness. The author can be reached at lstrd@yahoo.com

NOTE: This site doesn't accommodate charts, so when reading this think of a three-part chart, with each quality listed with a column for ranking the school's effectiveness from 1 to 10 and a column for comments.



Name of School _________________________ I am a

Parent â­ Student â­ Teacher â­

Date ________

On a scale of 0 to 10 please indicate how you feel or have evidence that this school is accomplishing each of the following:

Qualities for Contributive Behavior____Rank____ Comments

Identity â To what degree does this school help students know who they are, see their great potential as contributors, and develop their unique talents, gifts, interests and abilities?

Inquiry â To what degree is this school nurturing curiosity and helping students learn how to ask good questions? Do teachers set an example of a curious, inquiring attitude?

Interaction â To what degree does this school promote courtesy, caring, communication and cooperation?

Initiative â How much does this school foster self-directed learning, will power and self-evaluation?

Imagination â How much does this school nurture creativity and creative expression?

Intuition â How much does this school provide for emotional and spiritual understanding of experiences and ideas?

Integrity â To what degree does this school develop honesty, character, morality and responsibility for self?

Literacy and Mathâ Are literacy and math skills taught and learned as tools of inquiry, communication and problem-solving rather than as ends in and of themselves?

Parent Involvement â To what degree are parents involved as full partners with the school to help students grow as contributors to the school, home and community?

Additional comments, questions or suggestions:

Signature (optional) _________________________________ Phone # ________________________

For more information about âEducating for Human Greatnessâ contact Lynn Stoddard: lstrd@yahoo.com (801) 451-2554

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