Teaching Values

Do school-based programs violate parents' beliefs?


Thousands of schools in more than a dozen states are participating in a new movement to teach values in schools. Leaders of the “character education” movement point to moral decline among America's youth - evidenced by rising rates of teen pregnancy and youth crime - as the main reason schools should teach values. The programs, which vary greatly depending on the school, have provoked relatively little controversy locally. However, both conservative Christians and civil libertarians see the potential for schools to impose ideologies contrary to parents' values. Leading character-education advocates contend that schools can teach such basic values as respect and responsibility without wading into controversial areas like abortion, sex education and homosexuality.

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