One of the greatest challenges facing our schools today is teaching our children respect, responsibility, hard work, compassion, and other values so desperately needed in today's society. Most parents say they want help from the schools in teaching children a basic sense of right and wrong, but "values education" can be profoundly controversial, even feared. In a pluralistic society where values often clash, schools struggle with fundamental questions: What values should they teach? And how should they teach them?
Now Dr. Thomas Lickona, an international authority on moral development and education and the author of Raising Good Children, cuts through this controversy to report on dozens of practical, successful programs that are teaching the values necessary for our children's moral development and a decent, humane society. His twelve-point program offers practical strategies designed to create a working coalition of parents, teachers, and communities -- anyone who cares about the character of young people today.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First off, I will admit that I only read the first four chapters of the book, and only because it was required for a class (had I been reading voluntarily, I would have thrown it away after the third page). However, those four chapters were enough to tell me that the rest of the book wouldn't be worth reading anyway. The way Lickona argues in favor of a universal moral sense suggests that he already knows exactly what it is, but we disagree on enough points there that I would hardly call his morals 'universal.' On one page he says that all sex by young people should 'be classified as abuse - of both self and other.' On another he suggests that questioning authority is an inherently bad thing, and another sign of general moral decay among youth. The evidence Lickona uses to back up his assertions is hardly top quality either. While he does offer some legitimate statistics on things like crime rates, he also tries supporting himself by citing poorly-designed research and urban legends such as Satanic Ritual Abuse (which was thoroughly debunked after intensive investigation by the FBI). On the other hand, the book is rescued from a one-star rating by the fact that, once in a while, the author does actually make a valid point. For example, he mentions several character education studies that have been implemented in some school districts in America and Canada that have been successful. While he does not go into the specifics of these programs (at least, not in the chapters I read), some of the improvements attributed to these programs are hard to see as anything but actual improvements - improved school performance, increased attendance, and lower rates of drug use and pregnancy among students. Lickona even quotes interviews from students in elementary schools with these programs who say that students overall are much more friendly and polite than in other schools they've seen. In conclusion, while this book does have a few good things in it, they are sandwiched in between way too much b.s. If you are looking for a guide to implementing a character education program in your school district, this is not it.