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The Case For Character Education
Character Education The Role of the School in Teaching Values
and Virtue

by B. David Brooks, Ph.D. and Frank Goble

  • In 1982, the Supreme Court acknowledged that "public schools are vitally important vehicles for inculcating fundamental values..."
  • In 1994, the House and the Senate unanimously adopted a joint resolution supporting character education.
  • In 1995, the Department of Education said that schools "may play an active role with respect to teaching civic values and virtue.

The Case for Character Education is based on the premise that there are six common religion-neutral "pillars" of character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship) which are universally accepted as being essential to the furtherance of society. Authors B. David Brooks and Frank G. Goble trace the history of character education back to the days when everyone--the extended family, the neighborhood, the school and the church--participated in helping raise children to become socially responsible adults. That was before the turbulent 1960s when families began disintegrating, neighbors bought into the 'code of silence,' churches stopped teaching character out of a fear of losing members, and schools dropped the subject, thinking that the teaching of values was legal. We now know how much those changes cost us all.

The Case for Character Education gives examples of schools that have effective character education programs in place. Included among a long list of accomplishments at those schools: fewer school yard scuffles, overall improvement in student grades and teachers who are more content. Furthermore, vandalism drops, tardiness and absences decrease and a sense of school pride emerges. And all of these factors combined make for a better, safer learning environment--exactly what every parent, teacher and school administrator wants!

176 pages - Paperback ISBN: 1-882349-01-6 - $12.95

Table of Contents



1. Kids, Crime, and Character

2. The Global Perspective

3. Is Character Education Neglected?

4. The Separation of Church and State

5. Factors Influencing Character Education

6. Whose Values Should Be Taught?

7. Is Character Education Feasible?

8. How to Teach Character

9. Character Education: Where Are We Going From Here?

Appendix A: The Character Education Project

Appendix B: The Pittsburgh Study

Appendix C: What Makes Character Education Programs Work?




"An outstanding book which should be required reading for everyone concerned about young people and their future success."

- Sanford N. McDonnell, Retired CEO of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Chairman of the Board of the Character Education Partnership

"The Case for Character Education is outstanding and should be required reading for everyone concerned about young people and their future success."

- Terrel H. Bell, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

"This book is a must read. [It includes] close-up reviews of state laws, religion, the media, curriculum and best teaching practices. The authors set character education in historical and sociological perspective while they explore philosophical and psychological connections. The result is a solid foundational text from which those interested in implementing a comprehensive character education program can formalize a rationale."

- Mary M. Williams, Ed.D., Professor of Education, University of San Diego

"What we teach matters. In The Case for Character Education, the authors bring lengthy experience, strong convictions and considerable research to support the case for teaching character in the schools. They include a number of useful examples of successful efforts. It is clear that the programs they advocate have produced measurable results."

- Laurent A. Parks Daloz, Ed.D., Professor, Lesley College ,
Co-author of Common Fire: Lives of commitment in a Complex World

"The Case for Character Education contains the most readable review of the history of both Western and Easter character education I have seen to date. It also advances several philosophical points that are key to the YMCA's character development efforts. Values.... need to be taught in a systematic way. Agreeing on what values to teach is not the impossible task...nor are common values dependent upon religion for their definition or justification."

- Peggy Ketterer, Director, YMCA Values Project

"Check the records. All great failures in life are character failures, and all complete successes are character-based. The Case for Character Education is irrefutable. A much-needed work."

- Zig Ziglar, The Zig Ziglar Corporation


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