Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why not Character Counts!?

First source; the national Character Counts! website; link

If we agree that;

as public school educators, we have obligations
with respect to the development of good character in
our students.

Then it follows; there must be

  • unequivocal standards, and
  • unavoidable accountability.

Any educator who disagrees with those two inseparable points
has an obligation, I think,
to defend their position in words that a child can understand.

Otherwise; their students will see only, hypocrisy.

I submit that Character Counts! is at least reasonably close
to unequivocal and unavoidable, as we are likely to get.

Without belaboring the explanation;
five of the six Pillars of Character Counts! are;
citizenship, caring, fairness, respect,
and responsibility.

The sixth is trustworthiness. And therein lies the rub.

Because trustworthiness and truth telling are one and the same.

How can you trust someone who won't tell the truth?

Why would you trust someone who won't tell the truth?

There is a lot of talk about higher standards of conduct.

What higher standard of conduct does not include
telling the truth?

The lowest standard of commonly accepted conduct, the law
requires "not lying".

A standard of conduct higher than the law requires,
"telling the truth". Does it not?

Good ol' boys don't want to tell the truth.

Because inescapable consequences follow telling the truth.

It is the whole point of the
George Washington and the Cherry tree exercise.

There is no reason not to tell the truth, except
to escape the consequences, of telling the truth.

Truth telling begins the process of inescapable accountability
for deliberate misconduct.

Our standards of conduct, have to be the same standards,
as those which we expect our children to embrace.

Upton Sinclair wrote;
We should not be nearly so worried that our children
never listen to us, as we should be worried that
they are always watching us.
The fruit doesn't fall very far from the tree.

There needs to be some standard of conduct,
to which we are willing to be held accountable;
honestly accountable.

how will students know what honest accountability looks like?

The George Washington and the Cherry Tree exercise
will only get you so far with kids who have no idea
who George Washington was, or what an honest hero looks like.

If we really want our children to embrace honor and courage
and character,

someone has to show them what it looks like.

If not Character Counts!, then what?

If not the leadership of the APS, then who?

If not now, then when?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Sad, materialistic truth behind Character Counts! is that here, and in many schools across the nation, they sign on to Character Counts! programs to get the funding.
Then at the beggining of the year each teacher gets a school or district-produced booklet with themes and ideas, then it is never talked about again.
APS is not the only culprit... I've seen this many times, in many places.
Ironic that Character Counts! is the program that quickly becomes a Sham.