Discover and share stories

of adventure, connection, and change making.

3 people think this is good

Character Education Isn't About Fitting Kids Into Little Squares

Liz Dwyer

Teacher Jose Vilson used to think of character education as "the positive things about schools that concentrate on the socio-emotional as well as the academic sides of students." That's not what he's seeing play out in classrooms. Instead character education's become about adults who "still think children should fit in their little squares, implicitly creating a generation of children who obey, never take ownership, and never think for themselves."

Continue to



  1. {{}}
  1. {{fields.video_link.url}}

Ready to post! You’ve uploaded the maximum number of images.

Your video is ready to post!

Oops! Nice pic, but it’s just not our (file) type. Please try uploading a .jpg or .png image.

Well, this is embarrassing. Something went wrong when posting your comment. Care to try again?

That image is too large. Maximum size is 6MB.

Please enter a valid URL from YouTube or Vimeo.

Embedding has been disabled for this video.


Posting comment...

  • Patriotism ForAll

    The sad thing is that Character Education can't even fit kids into little squares. It is utterly ineffective.

    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's no surprise. Besides the fact that there is no theoretical basis for character education, just take a look at the lists of values and goals of the dozens of competing CE offerings. The lack of agreement between the lists is one of the most damning aspects of character education! And like you say, it is obvious that the majority of the values follow a conservative agenda, concerned with conformity, submitting to authority, not making a fuss...

    One thing all these programs do agree on is what values are 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 saying by Ms. Frizzle on the much celebrated TV show, The Magic School Bus, embodies values that would be antithetical to those found in today’s character education.