What's Happening in Character?

ESSA: Why your voice matters

Posted by Maggie Taylor on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

By Maggie Taylor

A little over a year ago I left my role as educator and started the grueling and rewarding process of graduate studies. As a student earning a Masters in Education Policy in the heart of Washington, D.C., I shouldn’t have been surprised to be engrossed in K-12 policies and politics in almost every lecture. I was not prepared to take courses entitled “Congressional Budget Making” or “Lobbying for Funding”—but here I am, a year in, and I have learned more than I imagined.  As I reflect on my first year as a scholar, I can’t help but think how this knowledge would have changed the way I viewed things as a teacher.

As a former classroom teacher, it was easy for me to bury my head in the sand and ride out every new policy that came down the pipe at the start of each school year. My local, state or national government would create policies or programs that would inevitably trickle down to my classroom. As these things trickled down, I often heard educators say, “This too will pass,” and heard myself echoing these sentiments as I learned this process firsthand. I passively allowed decisions to be made at the local, state and national level and didn’t think my opinion was worth sharing.

What I didn’t realize, however, was how much I could have done to change these policies, and how my voice should have been raised a little louder to be heard. This blog comes to you—educators, administrators, parents, concerned community members—to read into what is happening in Congress now and how we can all work together to make changes that suit the needs of our students.

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Topics: Advocacy, Education News, no child left behind, ESSA

Call for Stories: How Are You Helping Superstorm Sandy's Victims?

Posted by Katie Hood on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 16:11 PM

Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the East Coast at the end of October. Millions lost homes, pets, electricity, and some have lost hope. However, many of our National Schools of Character have mobilized to help alleviate the issues that many of these communities are facing. 

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Topics: character, Education News, National School of Character, leadership

Why Do These National Schools of Character Do Character Education?

Posted by Adam Williams on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 18:11 PM

 

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Topics: character, character education, Education News, National School of Character, character education in curriculum, CEP2012

President's Post: Leadership’s Most Essential Ingredient

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 13:10 PM

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Education News, leadership, integrity, president's post

President's Post: Broader Impact of Bullying

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

Earlier this month, I attended the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit here in D.C. Now, we all know how concerned Secretary Arne Duncan and the U.S. Dept. of Education are about this issue. But I was particularly heartened to hear how pro-active the U.S. Justice Department is. They are also working to reduce and prevent school bullying across the nation. 

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Topics: bullying advice, Education News, key lessons, cyberbullying, president's post

Character and the Economy: Why Do Performance Values Matter?

Posted by Carol Dreibelbis on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 @ 15:07 PM

On July 3rd, the eve of Independence Day, the White House hosted a meeting on citizen-based innovation. The main charge of the meeting was to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” at a time when the country is struggling economically. Each panel and discussion focused on how we can leverage social innovation and the United States’ finest resource—“the people”—to be resilient and move forward, as a nation.

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Topics: character, Education News, leadership, core values

CEP and The Virtues Project Offer Free Tickets to See the Movie Bully

Posted by Katie Hood on Mon, Apr 2, 2012 @ 17:04 PM

If you live in Washington, DC area and have a stake in our nation's education, you are invited to reserve your ticket today to see the movie Bully for free. Only 250 tickets are available. If you do not reserve a ticket, you are not guaranteed admission to this event.

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Topics: bullying advice, Education News, Character Education News

Common Core: Building the Moral Infrastructure through Character Ed

Posted by Kristie Fink on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 @ 15:03 PM

The Common Core has now been adopted by all but five states in the U.S., making it the topic of discussion in faculty rooms all across the country. It touts high standards that encapsulate the knowledge and skills students need for college, career and civic readiness in a 21st century global society, but will it really deliver on its promise?

There is much to like about the new Core. Governors and state superintendents all across the country collaborated to create it, reflecting our national ideals of state and local control of education. This collaboration has also resulted in developing high standards rooted in performance that meet our national goals of preparing every young person to be college-, career- and civically ready by high school graduation. The standards also draw heavily from best practices and research on what high-performing countries do.

The new standards could elegantly inform our journey a decade into this new century with a vision of what it means to be educated and prepared for the challenges of a new global society. The new Core proposes to make rigorous academic content accessible to all students so that all students can be successful. They represent a paradigm shift in that they move teachers away from an emphasis on preparing students for low level, multiple-choice tests to more real-world, performance-based assessments. The level of rigor has been increased, with daily reading and writing across the curriculum in a wide range of texts, including literary and informational, and increasing text complexity across disciplines.

So what’s missing that might help students grapple successfully with the increased rigor and expectation of performance in this new Core?

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Topics: character education, Education News, what works in education, common core standards

Member of Post-Columbine Generation Reflects on School Shooting

Posted by Carol Dreibelbis on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:02 PM

Monday, February 28th brought us news of another school shooting—this time in Chardon, OH. The entire country has been rocked by this violent act that killed three students and injured two others. This is news that we hope to never hear again.

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Topics: Education News, student voice, school climate

International Comparisons

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 @ 17:06 PM

We’ve all been hearing about great educational systems of nations such as Finland and Japan. If you haven’t yet seen “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” unveiled recently at an event attended by Secretary Duncan, John Merrow’s blog post provides a succinct summary of insights and a link to the report itself.

It’s worth taking a look at what these countries are doing to see if we can learn from them. If these countries don’t debate school choice, teacher accountability, or high-stakes testing, why do we? Will all of our interventions and measurements really make our students achieve more? Perhaps Merrow is right to point to our divergent state policies and lack of support or respect for teachers as weak areas of our educational system.

Even so, that leaves us with the question, “What do we focus on right now?”

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Topics: Education News, National School of Character, leadership, community of character, school climate, international education, parent involvement

Assessing the Challenge Index

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Wed, May 25, 2011 @ 17:05 PM

Once again Jay Mathews, a reporter for the Washington Post, has released his Challenge Index, the ranking of high schools determined by calculating the number of college level tests taken in a given year divided by the number of graduating seniors.

I was happy to see that McLean High School (where I taught before retiring from teaching and coming to work for CEP) was ranked 13th on the list of schools in the Washington, DC area. It was the highest ranked school in Fairfax County Public School District, a fact that I’m sure made the folks on the McLean faculty proud—especially since they were also ranked high in the national list of the top 200 high schools.  I’m sure there is lots of celebrating going on in schools all over who consider themselves to be among the best high schools in America because they made the list.

But is that legitimate? I agree with Mathews on the need to offer challenging courses to anyone who wants to try. As a former Advanced Placement English teacher, I’ve seen kids who had never taken an advanced class before rise to the challenge in my class. Even if they didn’t pass the test, the introduction to the advanced curriculum and the struggle to learn pays dividends in college, which is what Mathews has found through his research. But being a good school requires so much more than that.

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Topics: testing, Education News, National School of Character, character education in high school, challenge index