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[Susan notes: Lynn Stoddard outlines what a true personalized education would include. It is in sharp contrast to the way "personalized instruction" travels in such ed circles as the US Department of Education and Gates-funded operations, not to mention the offal produced by digital operations.]

Submitted to Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction but not published

To Superintendent Brad Smith:

Brad C. Smith

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Utah State Office of Education

PO Box 144200

Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200

Dear Superintendent Smith,

We recently learned that you are a superintendent who wants to foster innovation. You may be interested in a revolutionary concept that was discovered at Hill Field Elementary School many years ago when teachers decided to ask parents what their children needed. Out of these meetings came this fascinating idea â academic achievement is not an end in itself, but simply a means to the larger end of helping students grow into great human beings. The concept, âEducating for Human Greatness,â has been refined for over thirty years of development by some prominent educators and parents. Here is a condensation of it:

The main purpose of EFHG is to help each student develop a commitment and competence to be a contributor rather than a burden to society.

Student achievement in a common fixed curriculum is not the main goal. A great variety of subjects are taught as tools or means of helping students grow in the main qualities/powers/standards of human greatness:

1. Identity â Self-worth derived from developing one's unique talents and gifts.

2. Inquiry -- Curiosity, problem-solving and the power to ask vital questions.

3. Interaction -- Love, leadership, human relationships, communication, and cooperation.

4. Initiative -- Intrinsic motivation, self-direction and purpose.

5. Imagination -- Creativity and innovation.

6. Intuition -- The power of knowing with the heart, emotional intelligence.

7. Integrity -- Honesty, character, and responsibility.

Curriculum is the servant of teachers, parents and students, not their boss. Teaching is restored and respected as a profession.

A personalized curriculum is developed to "fit" each student. This calls for teachers to recognize, value and nurture student differences.

Students are supported to excel in what they are innately good at doing and what they want to become. They achieve much more than when learning is required.

The EFHG concept calls for switching from our compulsory, subject-centered system of fostering student uniformity to a student-centered system that focuses on developing the talents, needs, interests, purposes and great potential of individual students.

We have written several articles and proposals that address the important elements of this student-oriented system. We believe it is time to begin the transition. Utah could start by taking steps like these:

Place more value on student differences. Focus on building individual student talents, assets and genius. Celebrate the fact that diverse learners will experience diverse outcomes.

End the use of high-stakes, mass testing to enforce student uniformity of learning. Instead, assess growth in the qualities/powers/standards of individual greatness.

At the beginning of each school year provide time for teachers in each elementary school for teachers to meet with each student's parents to learn more about the child and make plans for working together.

Personalize curriculum to fit students. Add more classes, apprentice opportunities and electronic learning as needed to meet the diverse needs of many students. Provide for personalized graduation plans.

Organize in each Jr. and Senior High School, a home room for each student that will be led by a teacher whose main calling is to get well acquainted with each student, advise and guide him or her. In this room students will share their dreams, talents and projects and get help and suggestions from one another.

Give teachers the agency needed to develop real partnerships with students, parents, and communities to create the schools our children need.

At the present time we are working to introduce student-centered education into several key states. We believe Utah should become one of the leaders in this revolutionary reform movement. If you want to learn more, see the enclosures and get in touch with one of the leaders or endorsers of EFHG.

cc: Utah State Board of Education, Governor Gary Herbert

Lynn Stoddard

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