ERIC Number: EJ795476
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 33
Character Education in Contemporary America: McMorals?
Hudd, Suzanne S.
Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, v8 n2 p113-124 Fall-Win 2004
Character education, the instruction of core ethical values and cultivation of good conduct in the classroom, is increasingly being incorporated in public school curricula across the country. Over the last few years, schools in 48 states have introduced programs in character education as a means to nurture moral behavior among the youth. Public support for the addition of character education to school curricula is the strongest it has been since the 1950s, and it is bolstered by a variety of statistics related to moral decline. In this essay, the author explores the extent to which contemporary character education programs are being provided through a "McDonaldization" model. Her thesis is that federal sponsorship of character education programs through "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" (NCLB) has the potential to lead people to what she defines as an era of "McMorals." Increasing pressure to fit character education into the national standards movement in education and to employ and fund only "effective" techniques poses a great risk because it ignores the complexity of character development and the importance of acknowledging and working within situational constraints and cultural complexities that naturally affect the process of character development. The author addresses some important questions in this essay: (1) What are the long-term consequences of altering the processes by which children learn character?; (2) Is it possible that the outcome of school-based character education instills children with a view of character that is situation-specific?; (3) Does school-based character education supplant or support moral conversations in the home?; and (4) What will the implications be as schools increasingly provide character education through models that emphasize efficiency, calculability, predictability and control?
Descriptors: Values Education, Standards, Educational Legislation, Federal Legislation, Efficiency, Reliability, Behavior Change, Family Role, Outcomes of Education, Educational Trends, Futures (of Society)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001