ERIC Number: ED352310
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992
Reference Count: N/A
Schools and the Shaping of Character: Moral Education in America, 1607-Present.
McClellan, B. Edward
Debates about how moral education ought to be provided have engaged many of the best minds in education and stirred public controversies throughout U.S. history. The vast array of European peoples who settled the American colonies brought a commitment to moral education and a variety of approaches to the task. While French and Spanish settlers brought Catholicism to the New World, northern European Protestants did the most to give moral education its character in the original 13 colonies. The 19th century brought an insistence on rigid self-restraint, moral purity, and cultural conformity. Public schools became the preferred educational institutions for most citizens as state systems expanded rapidly. A movement to establish nonsectarian schools grew out of Protestant social thought and modes of organization. At the same time, Sunday schools appeared to bring Christian discipline and discipleship to the working classes. As the schools of the late 19th and early 20th centuries expanded their functions, moral education was forced to compete for a place in an increasingly crowded curriculum. By the 1940s the role of moral education began to erode. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, schools either adopted neutrality with regard to moral questions or became indifferent to them. At the same time, however, some educators and others sought to restore moral education in the schools. In more recent years, there have been efforts: (1) to take nontraditional approaches to moral education; (2) to restore virtue-centered character education; or (3) to provide public support to private schools. Few can doubt that the decision regarding whether to restore moral education in the schools will be a fateful one. (LBG)
Descriptors: Catholics, Christianity, Cultural Influences, Educational History, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethical Instruction, Moral Values, Protestants, United States History
ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, 2805 East 10th Street, Suite 120, Bloomington, IN 47408-2698.
Publication Type: Books; ERIC Publications; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Teachers; Practitioners
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Social Studies Development Center, Bloomington, IN.; ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, Bloomington, IN.