In education and life, character counts

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    Sept. 26, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    So-called "character attributes" may well be involved with success. HOWEVER, there is not one shred of evidence that character education programs can either imbue or improve these attributes in students - even if they could be measured, which no one has offered even a theoretical way to do.

    But who could be against anything as grand sounding as character education, you say? Well, unless there was a conclusive study about it which proves that it does absolutely nothing except waste time and money.

    October 2010, a federal study, the largest and most thorough ever conducted, found that school-wide Character Education programs produce exactly ZERO improvements in student behavior or academic performance.

    It is damning that CE programs can't agree on what these attributes are, but they do agree as to what is NOT included on their lists of core values. Not found, even though they are fundamental to the history and success of our nation are such noted values as independence, calculated risk, ingenuity, curiosity, critical thinking, skepticism, and even moderation. "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" the famous slogan from the The Magic School Bus, would find no place in today's character education.