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[Susan notes: Lynn Stoddard has written an excellent book on this topic: Educating for Human Greatness, expanded 2nd edition.]

Published in Deseret News

To the editor

An article by Sara Lenz ("Limiting homework: 'Parents want their kids back,'" June 26) prompts me to ask some questions: Why is there such a big difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation? What if we could develop a school system in which students engage in much self-chosen home study?

One way to do it is to change the main purpose of public education. The main purpose now is to develop student uniformity, to standardize students with a common core curriculum. If we were to change the primary purpose, it would change everything: Help students discover a purpose to be a special contributor to society.

This was the priority that emerged when teachers at two elementary schools in Clearfield and Layton interviewed parents for several years to learn about their needs for each student each year. With this priority, subject matter content was used differently, not as a goal, but as a "means" of helping students grow in greatness with a desire to be contributors to the family, school and community.

The result was a school-home partnership that intrinsically motivated students in a self-chosen home study. Student achievement soared. The same thing could happen with schools all over Utah, if legislators and state board members would cut the cord of government control.

Lynn Stoddard, a retired educator, is founder of the Educating for Human Greatness Alliance.

He can be reached at lstrd@yahoo.com

Lynn Stoddard

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