“Character Education: Learning to Be a Better Person” Comments, Page 1

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2 Comments (One Discussion Thread) on “Character Education: Learning to Be a Better Person”

  1. CEP has not been able to prove any of the claims listed in this article for character education.

    But who could be against anything as grand sounding as character education? But what if there was a conclusive study about it which proves that it does absolutely nothing except waste time and money (just what we need more of in public schools what with teachers and counselors heads now on the chopping block!)

    October 2010, a federal study, the largest and most thorough ever conducted, found that school-wide Character Education programs produce exactly ZERO improvements in student behavior or academic performance.

    It’s no surprise. Just take a look at the lists of values and goals of the dozens of competing CE offerings. The lack of agreement between the lists is one of the most damning aspects of character education! It also becomes obvious that the majority of the values follow a conservative agenda, concerned with conformity, submitting to authority, not making a fuss…

    One thing all these programs do agree on is what values are NOT included on their lists of core values. Not found, even though they are fundamental to the history and success of our nation are such noted values as independence, calculated risk, ingenuity, curiosity, critical thinking, skepticism, and even moderation. “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” the famous saying by Ms. Frizzle on the much celebrated TV show, The Magic School Bus, embodies values that would be antithetical to those found in today‚Äôs character education.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_education#Issues_and_controversies

    1. This article makes absolutely no “claims” about either the appropriateness or the success of the values character education program principles advocated by CEP. It’s purpose was to point out that these issues are increasingly recognized as being important. And it’s high time we had a vigorous debate about just what values need to be taught and which values and standards we can PROVE make a difference. I suppose we can also debate just how we should define and measure both personal and communal success. Personally, I welcome the debate because it flushes out not only the serious problems we have in this area but also the frighteningly deep divisions among us with respect to our values. The point of this article is solely that the character issue is a defining issue and deserves our attention. And the fact that we have such deep divisions among us about what qualities we think ought to be promoted and advanced in our young persons only underscores the importance of addressing the issue.

      And BTW, large portions of several CE programs, most especially the anti-bullying components, grew out of recommendations from advocacy groups representing abuse victims and members of the LGBT community, hardly a pack of “conservative” wackos. True, some of the CE programs out there are really disguised means of promoting a certain political perspective. When mega-analyses are done, as you say, it’s no wonder the results are so unimpressive. But that’s why resources like CEP exist. And I’m having a hard time seeing a conservative or other biasing bent to the general guidelines and principles CEP promotes. Perhaps you can enlighten in this regard if you have knowledge to the contrary.

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