I have Character

9 Apr

Most schools now have some kind of Character program implemented in the schools. Check out what your school does. It can run the gamut from super intense and invasive to barely a whisper within the district.

It all started back when I was in Junior High (remember Junior High? Now it’s called Middle School. But don’t kid yourself, it’s not just a name change, it’s a whole different philosophy. But I digress, that’s a different story). I don’t really remember much about it except that it was during our Science class. And we all (that is, us kids) knew it was a big old fat waste of time. We went over watered down, feel-good BS like being nice to each other, and self-esteem, and how to make goals. Now, these are all good things to know. But what was covered in the course was so completely and utterly useless. It was a waste of our time, and we knew it. It was insulting.

In our school district the program is called Character Plus. The letter from the Intermediate School Principal stated that it is designed to “improve schools by providing a more caring environment for students. A partnership of school, home, and community, CHARACTERplus emphasizes positive character traits by integrating them into everyday classroom activities.” I called the principal to get more information on this program and he referred my to the Character Plus website (www.characterplus.org). There it states that “CHARACTERplus helps schools build consensus about what values or character traits to teach and which programs to use…. each school develops a character education curriculum and program that meets its community’s unique needs.”

You got it-the proverbial run around. The Principal told me to check out the website, and the website refers you back to the school.

As far as I can tell the schools have a trait of the month that gets promoted. Students are then nominated for displaying the selected trait of the month. These are good traits in general. Things like honesty and courage. But with so little information given to parents I am skeptical as to how the schools are teaching such morals.

Another problem I have is schools are using these programs to gather more information on students and their families. The intermediate school took a student survey. It was optional; but how many parents will opt their child out without any obvious invasion of privacy.


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