Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Op-ed: Abandon NCLB for student-centered schools model

By Lynn Stoddard

First Published Aug 04 2014 04:03 pm • Last Updated Aug 04 2014 04:03 pm

A few people may be aware of what happens when you put a frog in cool water and gradually raise the temperature until the water is boiling. We are told the frog will not try to jump out until it’s too late.

Boiling a frog is symbolic of something that has happened to our system of public education. It has happened so slowly people don’t realize it may be too late to jump out.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

As a longtime observer of what has been happening to public education in our country, I have noticed a gradual decline ever since the federal government started to dictate so-called "reforms." In 1983 the Department of Education produced the "Nation at Risk" report. Then, in 1989, the first President Bush called a summit to reform public education. He invited governors to bring a business executive to the summit to chart a new path. It was a slap in the face to educators who were not invited to participate.

President Clinton held another summit of governors and business executives in 1996. Then came the second President Bush and the disastrous "No Child Left Behind" law. Now, under President Obama, we have had "Race to the Top" and a Common Core Curriculum.

The result? Student achievement remains flat, bullying, drop-outs and school related suicides have increased, school killings are spreading and teacher morale is at an all time low — all because "reformers" have concentrated on shoring up and repairing our time honored, subject-centered system rather than designing a new, modern system in keeping with great advances in other fields.

What would happen if we were to develop a system that caters to the needs of individual students? Consider what Buckminster Fuller said: "In order to change an existing paradigm, you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete." In other words, nothing will change until we offer something that makes our conventional system obsolete.

A group of educators and parents have been working for over 30 years developing a model, "Educating for Human Greatness," that focuses on the needs and potential of individual students. Teachers who are involved in this approach use two ways to find out what each child needs:

1. They ask parents.

2. They ask the student.

They then tailor instruction and curricula to meet the needs of a great variety of students. Parents are invited to become partners to help each student develop their unique talents, gifts and potential. With this approach, morale is high and students surprise everyone with what they can accomplish.


story continues below
story continues below

In two days, Utah State Board of Education members are scheduled to vote on extending a waiver to be released from requirements of the No Child Left Behind Law. If they vote against renewing the waiver, and also refuse to ever be accountable to NCLB, the board will open the door to a new system of education that makes the old one obsolete, such as "Educating for Human Greatness" and other student-centered models.

There are some who are concerned about loss of funding. The small percentage of the total education budget that would be lost can be made up, and more, if power and authority are restored to parents to be meaningfully involved – as I’ve shown before. This is why you should call your state board member and ask for a vote against renewing the waiver and also refuse to ever be bound by NCLB requirements.

Let’s jump out of federal control now before it’s too late. We can then begin to develop a system that meets the needs of each of our own students.

Lynn Stoddard, a retired Utah educator, has written four books on reform of public education.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.