Agency-Based Education   Leave a comment

Agency Based Education (ABE) is an important organization started by Oak Norton, the same man who is the webmaster for Utahns Against Common Core.

ABE holds yearly conferences attended by parents, teachers and legislators who want educational freedom.  (Agency here means free agency— not a government agency.)  It teaches the average person what should be widely known, but isn’t, about individual agency in education.

ABE’s site states:

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide an opportunity for the parents and children of the state of Utah to choose an Agency-Based Education.

Principles of an Agency-Based Education

  1. Must be based in choice and not compulsion
  2. Helps develop an internal moral compass as one fosters a recognition and love of truth
  3. Recognizes that truth best inspires when sought from original source materials
  4. Should be individualized to allow children to identify and develop their gifts and talents and discover their life’s missions
  5. Must recognize that parents have the sovereign stewardship to guide their children’s educational journey

Our Organization’s Purpose

This is an educational organization that teaches parents:

  • Their natural rights
  • Principles of a higher quality education
  • Current laws on education (Utah)
  • What is wrong with compulsory education and why we want change
  • What education options are currently available and what they could be in the future
  • How to get involved with us

 

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HELPING AGENCY BASED EDUCATION

ABE’s asking friends of the cause for help.   I am a friend of ABE and I signed up.  It cost me nothing and it helps ABE.  You can help, too.

Rather than holding a traditional fundraiser, ABE is asking people to simply sign up for a free account here, so that ABE can receive points (and money) from the retailers who have agreed to pay ABE for the referral.  For details on how it works, just click here.

For more information about why ABE’s educational mission is so important, click here.

Here’s a portion of and ABE article that defines the term “agency based education.”

 

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Defining “Agency-Based” Education

By Rebecca Bocchino

What is “agency-based” education as opposed to constructivism and behaviorism, and is there any scientific research supporting these methods?  Addressing these questions requires that we consider the various underlying assumptions of the nature of man, upon which are based the intellectual, moral, and cultural foundations for our differing views of the nature and purpose of education.  It might also help to put the issue of “scientific research”, with its emphasis on measurable, quantifiable, observable, and replicable behaviors, into a more Judeo-Christian perspective.

Behaviorism, as articulated by John Watson and B. F. Skinner, sees man as an object that is only capable of responding to external stimuli.  It claims that man acquired sense organs through evolution, not Divine design, and these sensory organs receive and transfer the environmental stimuli which then act upon the human “object”, causing a response.  Thus, choice and action are determined by the process of controlling and manipulating stimuli, which can be reduced to a science in a laboratory.

In his book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B. F. Skinner dismisses any belief in the free will or agency of man, claiming instead that

man does not act upon the world, the world acts upon him. … Freedom and dignity…are the possessions of the autonomous man of traditional theory, and they are essential to practices in which a person is held responsible for his conduct and given credit for his achievements.  A SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS [BEHAVIORISM] SHIFTS BOTH THE RESPONSIBILITY AND THE ACHIEVEMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT. (emphasis added)

It is upon this humanist moral foundation that behavioral methods using operant conditioning are based.

Constructivism or progressivism takes the concept of free will to the other extreme by operating on the assumption that man is not only a “self”, but that he possesses within himself all the wisdom and individual determination needed to progress.  InSummerhill, the British educator A. S. Neill counters the behaviorist assumption by suggesting that…

we should allow children to be themselves…renounce all discipline, all direction, all suggestion, all moral training, all religious instruction…a child is innately wise and realistic.  If left to himself, he will develop as far as he is capable of developing.

From this extreme springs methods such as “whole language” and “fuzzy math”.

Many are united in their rejection of constructivism and progressivism as one extreme, but controversy still exists between the humanist underpinnings of behaviorism and the Judeo-Christian belief in redemption and the nature of man.  Differences arise in how we define the capacity and nature of man:  whether he is a moral agent accountable to a higher, divine law, or a non-redemptive organism to be manipulated, controlled, shaped, and used by an external environment….

Read the rest here.

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