One of the greatest challenges facing our schools today is teaching our children respect, responsibility, hard work, compassion, and other values so desperately needed in today's society. Most parents say they want help from the schools in teaching children a basic sense of right and wrong, but "values education" can be profoundly controversial, even feared. In a pluralistic society where values often clash, schools struggle with fundamental questions: What values should they teach? And how should they teach them?
Now Dr. Thomas Lickona, an international authority on moral development and education and the author of Raising Good Children, cuts through this controversy to report on dozens of practical, successful programs that are teaching the values necessary for our children's moral development and a decent, humane society. His twelve-point program offers practical strategies designed to create a working coalition of parents, teachers, and communities -- anyone who cares about the character of young people today.
Lickona, author of Raising Good Children ( LJ 9/15/83), views the school as a major force in responding to America's moral crisis. He defines values, discusses how they may be taught, and outlines the role of school and family. He emphasizes values as an important factor in the well being of a nation, family, and individual. His arguments are good ones. However, this is the age of diversification, political action committees, and special interest groups. Issues such as homosexuality, condom distribution, abortion, and AIDS call forth a number of opinions absolutely believed in with little tolerance for opposition, reasoned or otherwise. These aspects make a commonality or sharing of values a very difficult prospect. On a technical level, the lack of an index reduces the book's utility. Notwithstanding these criticisms, Educating for Character should be made available to teachers, future teachers, and parents.-- Federico U. Acerri, Wayne Cty. Regional Educational Svce. Agency, Mich.