Isn’t it pretty much irrelevant to reform educational methods, once you ignore the real elephant in the civic classroom? Can true education of any kind exist within the framework of legal compulsion to attend and perform, or does the choice of non-choice define everything after that, limit it to mere schooling and not education?
Seems to me many points of “the moral compass” such as respect, initiative, not to mention the vaunted democratic “values of equality and individual rights” are much harder to teach captives than free citizens. It might be flat impossible. How can you “educate” kids to volunteer their own service by REQUIRING it of them? Animal trick training is far short of developing human compassion, respect, love, character and good citizenship among real live autonomous boys and girls.
Does compulsion teach any kind of tolerance other than tolerance of authority?
Where’s the credibility for developing any of these supposedly fine character traits in free citizens, once you disrespect the individual and take his or her rights for the lessons?
Maybe it’s theoretically possible, but my professional opinion is that it’s gonna be harder than a gnat passing a camel, or however that moral lesson goes . . . ;-) JJ
Schools have a duty not only to teach academics, but also to integrate ideals such as respect and honesty into the curriculum
NEWSDAY March 18, 2007
BY JOSEPH A. LARIA, acting superintendent of the North Babylon Union Free School District.
. . .In the effort to restore human and civic values into the fabric of children’s lives, schools have a very important role to play. . .In fact, New York State education law requires instruction in civility and character education, focusing on basic civic values such as justice, honesty, self-discipline, due process, equality, majority rule with respect for minority rights, and respect for self, others and property. The law speaks for a shared value in our state that education is not just about the basics.
So it’s a shared value in the whole state that school must teach all these values to kids? Then why does it need to be LAW? And why then, aren’t the schools through which we all believe it must be done, set up to be just, honest, self-disciplined, respectful, free and responsbile models of democractic values in action?
While learning about the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, for example, students can reflect on the values of equality and individual rights. They can learn to appreciate our system of laws not just as a collection of legislation, amendments and court decisions, but as a historic attempt to balance individuals’ rights against the common good.
schools need to require that all students participate in some form of community service, where they actually can engage in experiences that will provide additional opportunities to understand, appreciate and adopt values.
Reread introductory rant here.
In the end, the best lesson in values is the example we give as individuals and as a society.
Exactly. Would that public schools and acting public school superintendents blathering officiously on and on like Rob Reich, knew how to teach this one lesson!
Martin Luther King Jr. gave my generation a free moral education integrating these character lessons into real civic life, without using the law to force it on kids in school:
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963