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ERIC Number: EJ1148716
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jul
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1477-8785
No-Excuses for Character: A Critique of Character Education in No-Excuses Charter Schools
Dishon, Gideon; Goodman, Joan F.
Theory and Research in Education, v15 n2 p182-201 Jul 2017
The "no-excuses" model of education has become one of the most prominent educational alternatives for urban youth. Recently, notable no-excuses charter schools have begun a concerted effort to develop students' character strengths, striving to increase their chances of future success. In this article, we situate the no-excuses approach in the context of two prototypical positions in the history of character education: the "Traditional" approach, stressing habit formation and the inculcation of virtuous character traits, and the "Progressive" approach, dedicated to autonomous reasoning in determining moral codes. We identify two central limitations of the no-excuses approach. First, it combines "incompatible" components from both positions: the Traditional emphasis on a meticulous management of student conduct, together with the Progressive aspiration to cultivate autonomous decision-making. Second, while both Traditionalists and Progressives strive to develop character in light of moral values or principles, the no-excuses model is characterized by an "instrumentalist" conceptualization of character strengths as means towards achieving the goal of college completion. Consequently, this approach compromises the two central mechanisms that support the internalization of character strengths--practice in autonomous decision-making, and habituation in the service of principles. These shortcomings are further accentuated by the vast divergences between the no-excuses setting and future contexts in which character strengths are to be applied.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A