“Teaching kids to be good is low hanging fruit with a lifetime payoff making for a productive society,” write a trio of high-ranking Wisconsin business executives in an opinion piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel calling for character education as a way to save public schools.
To people who run companies, honesty and punctuality are as important as computer literacy. Traits such as these are about respect for ourselves and others; they make up our character. Without character, quality work is almost impossible to produce no matter the number of employee incentives.
The trio, which includes the former CEO of Harley Davidson, represent a local chapter of the Character Education Partnership (CEP), a 17-year-old organization that encourages the teaching of ethical values along with “supportive performance values” such as diligence, a strong work ethic, and perseverance. Character education is essential, they write, and cost-effective.
Curriculum experimentation is expensive and confusing to children. New equipment is expensive. Instructing principals and teachers how to encourage children to exhibit good character, especially by modeling it, is not expensive.”
When teachers, students and school administrators respect each other, reading, math and science scores go up, the trio notes, without a change of curriculum, text books or the addition of expensive equipment. “We’re not Luddites; we’re for technology, but if a school is in turmoil how will the students learn to use it?” they add.
Amen for this breath of fresh air from the business world, on a subject they know something about. Personally, I was happy to read a prescription for schools from business executives that for once wasn’t about a lack of accountability, performance pay, how unions protect bad teachers, international competitiveness, the need innovation and to shatter the ”status quo.”