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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Character education belongs in classroom

Tuesday, April 2, 2002

"It's bound to have a positive impact"

Here's an idea for a classroom program that I believe should be implemented in every school district in the state and perhaps the nation. The Strafford, Mo., school district - all 1,025 students strong - has developed a program for character education that all students must take. In addition to the reading, writing and arithmetic, students there now learn of respect, responsibility, citizenship, compassion, honesty, perseverance, self-discipline and pride. In other words, it's all about doing the right thing.

Schools today face so many challenges because parents have placed additional responsibilities on the schools that should rightfully begin at home. Character education, in my opinion, is just as important as the three R's. Perhaps today, it is more important than the basic skills that form the foundation of public education.

In just one year, teachers and parents alike have seen amazing results. And why not? If a student is taught in school the positive traits of being a good citizen and person, it's bound to have a positive impact.

Character education has turned into much more than a classroom study. The issues discussed and learned in the classroom are carried through the school day. Administrators too see the positive results.

I believe every school district in Missouri would benefit by an ongoing program to equip students for life after school. The fundamental skills are essential but character education too should be part of that academic mix. And it should be mandatory for all students.

Maybe the little Strafford school district can teach something to the larger districts throughout the state. And every parent reading this column should take the opportunity to ask a school official why this program cannot come to our school district.

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