The Issue of Character in The United States Public Education System

explanatory Essay
1581 words
1581 words

Introduction Over the past few decades, the need for character education programs in United States’ schools has been widely debated and become increasingly popular particularly at the elementary level. However, the root of character education in the United States extends back to Horace Mann in the 1840’s who advocated that “character development was as important as academics in American schools” (USDE, 2011, para. 1). In response to the more recent realization of the importance of character education, the U.S. Congress authorized the Partnerships in Character Education Program in 1994; and character education was re-emphasized again in 2001 in the No Child Left Behind Act (USDE, 2011). As a result of the U.S. Department of Education’s goals to “promote strong character and citizenship among our nation’s youth” and increase student achievement, numerous federal resources as well as grants at the state and local levels have been established to assist in the design, implementation, and sustainment of “high-quality opportunities for students to learn and understand the importance of strong character in their lives” (USDE, 2011, para. 9). In addition, President Bush increased funding for character education program implementation in 2003 from $8 million to $25 million following a White House conference including “nationally recognized experts” who met to discuss “the need for and effectiveness of character education programs” (USDE, 2003, pg.1). To date, 18 states currently mandate character education in the Education Code; California is one of them (CEP, 2010). Additionally, of the 41 identified character education interventions listed on the U.S. Department of Education website, 28 have no studies meeting evidence standards, and ... ... middle of paper ... ...acter education research at the high school level is paramount considering the lack of such research correlating any type of character education program with student achievement. References Character Education Partnership. (2010). August 22, 2011 from Gay, L.R., Mills, G. E., & Airasian, P. W. (2009) Educational research: Competencies foranalysis and applications. (9th. Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. ISBN-10: 0135035015 U.S. Department of Education. (2003). Character education crucial to education system, Paige says ‘culture callousness’ must end; announces technical center for character education and civic engagement. Retrieved August 22, 2011 from U.S. Department of Education. (2011). Character education…our shared responsibility. Retrieved August 22, 2011 from

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that character education in the united states dates back to horace mann, who advocated that "character development was as important as academics in american schools."
  • Explains that 18 states mandate character education in the education code; california is one of them. of the 41 identified character-education interventions listed on the u.s. department of education website, 28 have no studies meeting evidence standards, and only three have been found to positively effect academic achievement.
  • Explains the importance of obtaining informed consent and a permission form before the research study can begin.
  • Asks how effective character education programs can be at the high school level, given the lack of character, integrity, and concern for others. the research study aims to determine whether a direct correlation exists.
  • Explains that the correlational study will include data that is already available including student cst scores and grade point averages, the two major determinants of measurable student achievement.
  • Summarizes the u.s. department of education's position on character education and civic engagement.
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