[Susan notes: Longtime educator Lynn Stoddard offers this model letter for you to personalize and adapt and send to your local media.]
Submitted to Choose a newspaper but not published
The PEW Center on the States recently reported that our country incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in the world for a cost of nearly 50 billion per year! This places an enormous burden on American society in many ways Ă˘€“ a burden that could be reduced dramatically with an education system that focuses its energies on developing great human beings to be contributors Ă˘€“ not burdens Ă˘€“ to society.
This is not the goal of the No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB is based on a false goal Ă˘€“ student achievement in curriculum. This goal is a cultural mind-set that has been the foundation of all Ă˘€śreformsĂ˘€ť since the "Nation at Risk Report." With student achievement in curriculum as the main goal of education, teachers are pressured to teach basic skills as ends in and of themselves Ă˘€“ to attain high test scores. This often results in teaching the mechanics of reading, writing and arithmetic out of context in ways that destroy curiosity, imagination; and giving students an aversion to learning. The price we pay as a nation for this distortion of our priorities will be severe indeed.
We believe it is urgent that people know about a reform plan designed to replace No Child Left Behind. "Educating for Human Greatness" is a model perfectly suited to the challenges of the Twenty First Century, and it has received enthusiastic endorsement of eminent educators such as former Nebraska Commissioner of Education, Dr. Douglas Christensen, who has urged us to share it with you and other leaders. Lynn Stoddard devoted his long career as a teacher and elementary school principal developing this model that began in two schools in Northern Utah when teachers decided to ask parents about their priorities for the education of their children. We are calling your attention to it here Ă˘€“ as a practical, workable, and powerful alternative to the repressive, in-the-box nature of the unconstitutional NCLB act:
EDUCATING FOR HUMAN GREATNESS
Main Purpose and Mission: Develop great human beings to be contributors to society.
The Ă˘€śEducating for Human GreatnessĂ˘€ť model explicitly addresses, nurtures and supports seven key Dimensions of Human Greatness. These form a framework that schools and school districts can use to design their own systems:
1. Identity Ă˘€“ Helping students learn who they are Ă˘€“ as individuals with unlimited potential, developing their unique talents and gifts to realize self-worth, and developing within them a strong desire to be contributors to family, school, and community.
2. Inquiry Ă˘€“ Stimulating curiosity; awakening a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature and for humankind. Helping them develop the power to ask important, penetrating questions.
3. InteractionĂ˘€“ Promoting courtesy, caring, communication and cooperation within individual students and their peers.
4. Initiative Ă˘€“ Fostering in all students the self-governing capacities of self-directed learning, will power, and self-evaluation.
5. Imagination Ă˘€“ Nurturing in students their unique capacities for creativity and creative expression in its many forms.
6. Intuition Ă˘€“ Helping students learn how to feel and recognize truth with their hearts as well as with their minds.
7. Integrity Ă˘€“ Fostering in students honesty, character, morality and responsibility for their choices and actions.
Advantages of Educating for Greatness (EFG) Over NCLB:
1. EFG does not try to standardize students; instead it nurtures the development of individual talents, gifts and abilities. Every Child Can Excel.
2. EFGĂ˘€™s goal is not merely student achievement in curriculum content; it uses subject matter as a tool to help students grow in individual greatness.
3. EFG teachers perform as professionals who work with parents and students to decide what curriculum is best for each learner.
4. EFG replaces standardized testing with genuine assessment of student growth in the seven Dimensions of Human Greatness.
5. EFG honors studentĂ˘€™s interests and questions. They learn basic skills faster and better.
6. EFG respects teachersĂ˘€™ knowledge; supports and helps them develop as creative professionals. They are accountable for working with parents to nurture students as contributors.
7. EFG helps students develop a desire and commitment to be contributors to family, school and community.
8. EFG was developed by front-line teachers working in full partnership with parents.
Educating for Greatness and its implementation are described more fully in a twenty-four page booklet that we will be pleased to send to you and your colleagues. Please feel free to contact me on my home phone, or email address: ____________ I look forward to hearing from you.
YOU can be the author