Thursday, October 26, 2006

Character Education: Necessary for a Safe School Environment?

The report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2004 compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics is overwhelming. This report serves as a clarion call to anyone involved in or concerned with the education of our children, that is, every American.

The 19 indicators of School Crime and Safety are:
  1. Violent Deaths At School And Away From School
  2. Incidence Of Victimization At School And Away From School
  3. Prevalence Of Victimization At School
  4. Threats And Injuries With Weapons On School Property
  5. Physical Fights On School Property And Anywhere
  6. Bullying At School
  7. Violent And Other Incidents At Public Schools And Those Reported To The Police
  8. Serious Disciplinary Actions Taken By Public Schools
  9. Nonfatal Teacher Victimization At School
  10. Teachers Threatened With Injury Or Attacked By Students
  11. Students Carrying Weapons On School Property And Anywhere
  12. Students' Perceptions Of Personal Safety At School And Away From School
  13. Students' Reports Of Avoiding Places In School
  14. Students' Reports Of Being Called Hate-Related Words And Seeing Hate-Related Graffiti
  15. Students' Reports Of Gangs At School
  16. Discipline Problems Reported By Public Schools
  17. Students' Use Of Alcohol On School Property And Anywhere
  18. Students' Use Of Marijuana On School Property And Anywhere
  19. Students' Reports Of Drug Availability On School Property
Please take a moment to read this eye-opening report at:

To counteract incidents of school violence, we must be compelled to action. The Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education can serve as the underlying criteria to develop or evaluate a character education program to combat the aforementioned 19 indicators. The 11 basic principles as defined by the Character Education Partnership (CEP) are:

Principle 1 Promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character.

Principle 2 Defines "character" comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and behavior.

Principle 3 Uses a comprehensive, intentional, proactive, and effective approach to character development.

Principle 4 Creates a caring school community.

Principle 5 Provides students with opportunities for moral action.

Principle 6 Includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.

Principle 7 Strives to foster students self motivation.

Principle 8 Engages the school staff as a learning and moral community that shares responsibility for character education and attempts to adhere to the same core values that guide the education of students.

Principle 9 Fosters shared moral leadership and long range support of the character education initiative.

Principle 10 Engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.

Principle 11 Evaluates the character of the school, the school staff's functioning as character educators, and the extent to which students manifest good character.

Working together, we can create an environment that is safe and appropriate for educating good citizens.

Click here to read CEP’s Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education.

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