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By Robert J. Nash

This critique of up to date models of personality schooling positive factors own statement, educating examples, and pupil observation.

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Extra resources for Answering the ''Virtuecrats'': A Moral Conversation on Character Education (Advances in Contemporary Educational Thought Series)

Sample text

These highly committed proponents of a "traditional [or progressive] morality" know how to impart their quasi-religious messages with extraordinary perspicacity, being particularly ad- Page 6 ept at passing on their special virtues to schools and colleges throughout this country. Some, like William Bennett and Thomas Lickona, have even become "ministers plenipotentiaries," "lay cardinals" invested by their peers with the fullest power to proclaim their moral truths. Their publications and media proclamations on behalf of virtue, rigorous curricula, and discipline have had a tremendous impact on a number of diverse religious, political, and educational constituencies.

After reading these stories, [students] have something to think over and discuss. Marva Collins, Marva Collins' Way, 1990 While the character-education project in teaching virtue in the schools and colleges is flourishing at this time, educators in the United States have actually had a 300-year tradition of instilling a particular kind of Page 17 moral character, one typified by some of the same qualities mentioned in the excerpts that introduce this chapter. Character educators such as William Bennett, Allan Bloom, Marva Collins, William Honig, William Kilpatrick, Thomas Lickona, Edward Wynne, and Kevin Ryan, whose ideas I will emphasize in this chapter, are basically in concert with the founders of the common schools: If Americans are to be people of "good character and sound morality," then schools "must be charged with the mission of moral and civic training, training that finds its roots in a ground of shared values" (Bennett, 1988, p.

He becomes brave by performing brave acts" (pp. 9192). " For most declinists, the traditional moral values are to be found mainly in stories, myths, poems, biographies, and drama (Kilpatrick, 1992), and declinist educators tend to highlight the motivations, aspirations, and moral conflicts of a variety of characters who appear in "inspiring" books of virtue. They believe it is mainly by reading these books that children can find the proper heroes to emulate in reclaiming, and learning, the traditional moral values.

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