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Title: Character Education Essay

1295 words - 5 pages

There is a strong effort in public education to achieve high academic standards. With the election over, we are looking at another four years adjusting to the NCLB so this effort is going to grow even more. I firmly support current efforts to achieve high academic standards. Our focus on developing a sense of excellence in children would make no sense if we did not advocate aiming for excellence. Yet we must not neglect the other part of any successful education program, character based education. These duel aims of education do not merely operate alongside each other; they must unite together. Though public schools may have no business promoting specific values, they should promote in their students the capacity to develop values and become evaluators. Regaining virtue in our curriculum is as necessary as stressing academic standards if we hope to achieve the meaningful objectives of educational reform. If we only support efforts to establish measurable standards of performance throughout the curriculum, we risk losing sight of a primary objective in education, the production of intelligent, imaginative, and successful human beings.How do we define character education? McBrian and Brandt (1997, p. 17-18) believe "character education involves teaching children about basic human values including honesty, kindness, generosity, courage, freedom, equality, and respect." Our goal is to raise children to become morally responsible, self-disciplined citizens. Problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution are important parts of developing moral character.National survey results reveal high levels of cheating, theft and cynicism among high school students. According to a just-released study by the Josephson Institute of Ethics based on a national survey of 24,763 high school students, nearly two-thirds (62%) cheated on exams and more than one in four (27%) stole from a store within the past 12 months. Additionally, 40% admit they "sometimes lie to save money." (Renuka, 2004) Statistics such as these demonstrate the necessity for character education in today's curriculum. The amount of confessed dishonesty demonstrates that schools have a very long way to go to better instill attitudes and habits of integrity.In the past, here have been three great formative institutions that have shaped the character of children and have had the responsibility to pass on a legacy of values. Those are the family, religion, and the school. Historically, they have worked together to accomplish that task. In our own century, we've seen many families break down, we've seen the schools back away from their role, and we've seen many children not have the benefits of religious formation. That's created a kind of values void into which the wrong influences have rushed: television and advertising---the worst of the peer culture. The school has to become part of a new collaborative effort, a common cause, to return adults to what historically has been one of their...

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