One of the big selling points of the school at which I taught
for three years (and attended from seventh through twelfth
grade) is that its students don’t just learn academic skills,
they learn character. The goal of its 75 year-old Honor
Code, which allows students to take exams unproctored or
even at home, is to teach students to do what is right even
when it is most difficult to do so.
So I have been fascinated by President Bush’s push to dramatically increase federal funding for character education. His motivation, of course, is not to replicate schools like mine but rather to placate social conservatives skeptical of the rest of his education plan, and, less cynically, to help schools navigate this new world of Columbine, Conyers, Jonesboro and Santee, where kids seem crueler and more prone to violence than ever before. Just this week three girls from Boonville, California