A Conference on Agency-based Education Sat. Nov. 17

Hooray! Years ago Oliver DeMille wrote his book, A Thomas Jefferson Education, to promote the idea of “agency-based education.” He wrote it because he was inspired by the book Teach the Children, an Agency-based Approach to Education, by Neil Flinders, a BYU professor of education.

Oak Norton and his friends are pursing this idea with a conference…

2012 Agency-Based Education Conference


Date: November 17th, 2012

Location: Southtowne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah

Time: Registration from 8-9 AM, conference from 9 AM to 4 or 5 PM.

Cost: Costs have been subsidized by donors and are $25 for an individual, $20 additional dollars for your spouse. Lunch will be provided.

Go here to register.

The speakers presenting at the conference happen to all be LDS and there are some LDS themes in a few of the talks. This, however, is not an LDS conference, nor is it heavy in LDS doctrine. The principle of agency, means free will, choice, and is regarded as the supreme principle in LDS theology such that a war was fought in heaven over this principle which resulted in the casting out of a large body of rebellious spirits. Compulsion in any form is repulsive to God. Persuasion and allowing an individual to make an informed choice is the direction this organization is trying to move in. This conference reflects this principle in a variety of settings. You do not need to be LDS to benefit from this conference. Just apply the principles taught within your own framework of belief.
The conference speakers will include:

Oak Norton, Director of Agency-Based Education:

Recapping the creation of this organization, and speaking on the need to end compulsory education and laying out a plan to do so

Alisa Ellis, Utahns Against Common Core:

Speaking on the global education agenda which incorporates Common Core

Jack Monnett, Author, Lecturer:

The LDS Church has always had a keen interest in education–how, what, who, and why to teach.  All of these issues were tackled by the early Church and principles were formed with varying degrees of success.  Many of the formative principles have been set aside, however, in favor of modern methodology and the all-consuming role of public schools.  As in so much that is “new and improved,” it is well to study the original model to determine what was intended at the outset.  Often the passage of time and new add-ons that enter into the educational arena do little more than to complicate a doable, straight-forward approach to teaching.

Celia Johnson, Paradigm Charter High School:

“Agency education in a charter school:  The Bruises and Benefits of Riding a Live Horse on Top of a Merry-Go-Round.”

Janet Summit, Community School Director

What would an agency-based school look like?  This last year I have worked with a co-chair to set up an agency-based education school in our Cache Valley area.  Because our membership base draws from local homeschooling families, we have no attachment to public school, so we had the freedom to make it be exactly what we envisioned.   There is no testing, no homework is turned in unless the student and parent request feedback, and nothing to force learning.  Yet we are thriving, and have doubled our size in two semesters, with about 26 families involved, and 85 children of all ages.  We have a group of about 30 teens, which is what I am most proud of. Parents teach all our classes, and we have classes for all ages of children.  We have no budget at all, and do not charge for anything other than the building rental, insurance, and actual supplies for each class. In this workshop I will highlight what we have done, the benefits of doing this type of school, how it can be replicated, things that work, things that don’t work, and our experiences.

Tammy Hulse, Homemakers of America:

Liberty’s Hope is a youth achievement program based on the biblical pattern of human development. The program is designed to teach the principles of liberty, skills of self-reliance, and character development to build the leaders of tomorrow.  The four areas of achievement include the heart, mind, might and strength, the four components of the human soul.  This program is designed to do more than provide an intellectual understanding of the concepts explored; it is designed to encourage youth to transfer the information from the mind to the heart where it will impact character development, motivation, and emotional well-being.   A garden allegory provides the framework for this education model.  Youth are encouraged to plant seeds in the heart, nourish those seeds with great care, weed out and discard harmful distractions and share the harvest with others as skills are developed.

The curriculum for Liberty’s Hope meets the criteria for county 4-H programs, allowing children and youth to register as a 4-H club and compete in the County and State Fair and other contests.

Tammy Hulse is the Vice-President of HomeMakers for America and is serving on the National Round table of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Constitutional Restoration.   She is also a co-author of the book “Raising the Next Generation of Patriots – A Garden Allegory.”   (available in eBook form at HomeMakersforAmerica.org)

Cherilyn Eager, Teacher/Researcher

History of Zion Institute

Raising Children in Truth and Light: A Gospel-Centered Education

In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Teach true principles across the curriculum in an environment of competing world views
  • Accelerate learning and increase literacy by applying gospel principles
  • Implement a home detoxification plan for the optimal academic environment
  • Teach by the Spirit and discern truth and error in today’s school curriculum

Cherilyn Eagar is a former teacher and educational researcher who has presented at national and local conferences on education policy.  She was a co-author with attorney Matt Hilton of Utah’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  In the mid-1990s she was affiliated with Zion Institute for Children, a pilot program of the BYU College of Education, whose seminars she helped develop with BYU professors and mentors Garr Cranney, Neil Flinders, Buddy Richards and project director, Pamela McCoy, summarized in this session. For more information go to www.CherilynEagar.com or email Cherilyn@CherilynEagar.com

Gayle Ruzicka, Eagle Forum President

The joys and challenges of homeschooling.

Jesse Fisher, Social Entrepreneur

Three Grand Enticements for Abandoning Compulsory Education for Freedom-Based Education:
1. Trusting the Genius of our Children’s Creator,
2. A Long-Term Permanent Solution to Unemployment, and
3. The Preservation of Political Freedom in America.

Jesse Fisher is a recovering public school teacher, founded a freedom-based private school in 1992, serves on the board of the Utah 912 States Rights Coalition, and is the founder of the Freedom Preservation Foundation. He enjoys presenting about the history of the Prussian School Model in America, its harmful effects on our free society, and a pro-liberty alternative. See

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