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Blue_Chill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 12:46 PM
Original message
Should schools teach morals and ethics to children?
I'm a young guy and I remember that my public schools didn't teach anything ever approaching ethics or morals to any of us. It was anything goes as long as you keep your mouth shut and listen in my school.

In a time when more families are either both working or single parents working and they have less time and patience for their kids. A lot of kids grow up with their only life lessons coming from the media view sports icons, music stars, and hollywood. So I ask should schools teach this stuff and if so what should they teach?

Make up a list of what you would seek to teach the social security life blood of tomorrow?
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FreedomReload Donating Member (171 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. Schools Should Teach Kids How To Think
Give them situations and let them discuss what the right thing to do would be.
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. I'm quite convinced that
schools here in the UK, and I easily believe in the US too, are very deliberately being set up to make sure of quite the opposite: that kids never do any serious thinking on any serious topic. Good little consumers and pliant employees, that's all the Powers want them to be.
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edward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. Absolutely true.
A principal in a school where I was teaching told me that parents complain anytime something thought provoking enters the curriculum.
He wasn't joking. Therefore, no critical thinking.
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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
24. If it is in the context of a philosophy class
Then I would not object. Now if they were teaching only ONE set of morals and ethics to follow, I might have a problem with that.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
32. But repukes want parents to do that (and other non-sequiturs)
Parents should teach the kids, not schools.

Thanks to republicans and their pro-supply-side economic voo-doo:

both parents have to work multiple jobs, no time to be with the kids

pukes don't want public schools to do this; much better to hand out "vouchers" to help pay for private schools (which "coincides" with the religious schools, hint hint hint...) and as a result reduce to eliminate public schooling. (everything's got to be privitized, of course.)

I'm sure there are other examples, but these ones are quite good on their own.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
60. everything a child experiences teaches them ethics and morals
Schools should formally teach ethics.

Schools should mostly teach children how to think.
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pocoloco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. # 1
The Golden Rule
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Blue_Chill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. good start
Edited on Sun Sep-14-03 12:53 PM by Blue_Chill
You can't go wrong with do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or in it's updated version "if you fuck wit peeps they will fuck wit choo" (a kid actually said this to me)
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markses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. The kid's statement
Is not a restatement of the so-called Golden Rule, but rather draws a consequence of its violation. The so-called Golden Rule is not concerned with consequences, and is in fact opposed to thinking through the consequences of its violation (the consequence of punishment can be considered a violation of the Golden Rule, although it can also be considered otherwise, a Socrates argues to both Plotus and Callicles, for example, in the Gorgias).

In any case, one does not adhere to the Golden Rule because of the consequences of its violation, but rather because of the moral value of the rule itself. In other words, you refrain from hitting others NOT BECAUSE they will hit you back, but because it is wrong, pure and simple. In that sense, the kid is using a pragmatic criterion for behavior rather than an ethical criterion (Kant demonstrates the difference clearly in his Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals). To slyly quantify and calculate the possible punishment or consequences for an unethical act, and to determine your actions on that basis is precisely the unethical mode of behavior. "If you fuck wit peeps (and peeps does not mean "people," but "friends" or "allies" - it is always "my peeps"), they fuck wit choo" demonstrates a pragmatic view of behavior, with the consequences always looming, rather than an ethical view of behavior, which disregards consequences tout court.

Even in Kant's categorical imperative (will every action such that you will it to be universal) disregards consequences, so the examples people give of it - what happens if everybody cuts the line? - are incorrect, strictly speaking.
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Right!
I had to read your post twice before I got it, but you're dead right. If you evaluate consequences in order to decide a course of action, then you can conclude it is OK to do something bad if you think you can get away with it.

Integrity is your actions when nobody's looking.
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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. Ethical Calculus at its best
Thats something that we've been talking about in Philosophy that human nature will do what is most pragmatic for them. It makes for interesting debate.
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Cocoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. wow, that is a great answer
Especially because what you're saying is not obvious, or it wasn't to me at least. But it's very true, that update of the Golden Rule is NOT the Golden Rule.
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markses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. One of the reasons people conflate
the pragmatic and the ethical is because disregarding consequences lays bare the unethical foundation of much religious dogma. Any religion that promotes styles of behavior based on a rewards/punishment structure (heaven and hell, reincarnation as higher or lower forms of life, karma, fabulous gifts under the tree vs. lump of coal in the stocking, etc.) actually operates according to pragmatic rather than ethical premises. These religions universalize the external discovery mechanism: some "body" is always watching - positive or negative consequences are inevitable! In this way, they are more like formal TRAINING PROCESSES than they are ETHICAL SYSTEMS.

Now, somebody may argue that rewards and punishments are NEEDED to guarantee "proper" behavior. This may be the case, but it is no more "ethical" for all that, if an ethic assumes that we disregard consequences. It is pragmatic and, in some sense, relies on selfishness (fear of personal harm, desire for personal good) to train a population.

Or, one may argue that there are no ethical systems that do otherwise, that ethics is just a fancy fetish that we give to these systems of training in order to hide the fact that they are modes of power. Nietzsche, for example, argues that the so-called morals of society are bathed in blood, that their development is marked by extreme violence, and that they are nothing but these practices of power. The lesson that had to be learned in order to constitute a society was simple: If you fuck wit peeps, peeps fuck wit choo. The history of this lesson is the history of brutal training. Afterwards, we make up a fantasy of integrity in order to forget that the so-called ethical behavior is nothing but an abstraction and forgetting of pragmatic behavior, that altruism is nothing but submission to these forms of power.

In either case, ethics - as was well put by another poster - as that which we do when nobody is watching evaporates. Is there even such a system? And, more importantly for this thread, do we teach these complex and necessary questions when we teach morals and ethics in schools? Or do we simply go with a simplified and impoverished version, which is to say, a system of training rather than a system of ethics?
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edward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #21
30. In many cases, Nietzsche is correct.
We may act as if the other is obeying the Golden Rule, but after giving someone a chance to act ethically, I always come down hard on them with the law or whatever motivates them to act properly.
Unfortunately, even churches violate the law and will not change unless threatened with severe consequences.
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edward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
28. And yet, Kant subverts the Golden Rule.
The teaching of Jesus is in fact inter-subjective. We are asked to empathize with the other person. Kant eliminates the inter-subjective so that we conform to rules. Kant's version actually leads to utilitarianism(pragmatic ethics)rather than argues against them.
We act ethically for the good of people, not rules and judgements.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #12
36. Well, Kant didn't speak to the act but to the 'maxim' of the act.
The Categorical Imperative necessitates an understanding of the principles and values underlying any chosen behavior and it is those ("the maxim") which Kant exhorts one to will as Universal.

The (so-called) Golden Rule is (IMHO) without principle in that it ignores the reasons, motives, context, and goals for actions. How, for example, would a surgeon follow the literal Golden Rule? Would a surgeon want "others" to slice into him/her? even without training or reason? :shrug:

At least that's one way to read these. YMMV, of course. Mine does. :silly:
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edward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. Categorical Imperative does not imply knowledge.
Only that one acts as a "universal" actor would act; without self interest.
The Golden Rule for a surgeon would say cut as if you were operating on your child, or especially, yourself.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #38
42. (hmmmm...)
In his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant formulates the Categorical Imperative in three different ways:
  • The first (Universal Law formulation): "Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
  • The second (Humanity or End in Itself formulation): "Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end."
  • The third (Kingdom of Ends formulation) combines the two: "All maxims as proceeding from our own making of law ought to harmonise with a possible kingdom of ends."

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_Imperative


Interestingly, it is in what Kant calls the "hypothetical imperative" (of the form, "If you want X, then do A.") wherein the desired outcome or result is relevant, is the lynchpin of utilitarian ethics. It's also (as markses points out) the 'contract' of neofundamental Christianity -- which is why utilitarian ethics is a pox on our body politic. It's almost unarguable that Kant was very clear in basing his view of morality on reason and not desires.

This is neatly summarized here:
Imperatives for Action

More accurate comprehension of morality, of course, requires the introduction of a more precise philosophical vocabulary. Although everything naturally acts in accordance with law, Kant supposed, only rational beings do so consciously, in obedience to the objective principles determined by practical reason. Of course, human agents also have subjective impulsesdesires and inclinations that may contradict the dictates of reason. So we experience the claim of reason as an obligation, a command that we act in a particular way, or an imperative. Such imperatives may occur in either of two distinct forms, hypothetical or categorical.

A hypothetical imperative conditionally demands performance of an action for the sake of some other end or purpose; it has the form "Do A in order to achieve X." The application of hypothetical imperatives to ethical decisions is mildly troublesome: in such cases it is clear that we are morally obliged to perform the action A only if we are sure both that X is a legitimate goal and that doing A will in fact produce this desirable result. For a perfectly rational being, all of this would be analytic, but given the general limitations of human knowledge, the joint conditions may rarely be satisfied.

A categorical imperative, on the other hand, unconditionally demands performance of an action for its own sake; it has the form "Do A." An absolute moral demand of this sort gives rise to familiar difficulties: since it expresses moral obligation with the perfect necessity that would directly bind any will uncluttered by subjective inclinations, the categorical imperative must be known a priori; yet it cannot be an analytic judgment, since its content is not contained in the concept of a rational agent as such. The supreme principle of morality must be a synthetic a priori proposition. Leaving its justification for the third section of the Grounding (and the Second Critique), Kant proceeded to a discussion of the content and application of the categorical impetative.
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edward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. Sorry. If you want debate, please put it in your own words.
Edited on Sun Sep-14-03 06:14 PM by edward
Feel like a philosophy professor reading a "file" paper.
A little bit of a Kant quote perhaps, but commenting on commentators gets boring very fast.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #12
55. yes - It seems that you could end up with a "survival of the biggest"
mentality. Where the rich can be as immoral as they want to be and child molesters can do whatever they want without a conscience.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
14. Back in the 70s the Right (esp Schlaffley and Eagle Forum)
fought the teaching of "values" (parents should do that! - apparently they didn't trust what values would be taught); and the teaching of "critical thinking skills" (teaches kids to question their parents!) Over time more schools responded to the pressure - except in the high end classes - there critical thinking was still taught (have to get those brightest kids to college).

Has been interesting that it is the right that has now been pushing for "character education". Perhaps they believe they now control the agenda of what that means. I don't know the idea of some schools teaching "character education" in the absense of critical thinking - sort of makes me think of docile indoctrination.

Fortunately - many people in the teaching field have more sense than the far right, and have always tried to work in both critical thinking and values types lessons.
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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #14
29. This reminds me of a new Florida appoinment in Florida's DCF
who has a problem with children learning about being tolerant in school.

Posted on Fri, Aug. 29, 2003

DCF hires activist for religious right causes
BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER
cmarbin@herald.com

Florida Department of Children & Families Secretary Jerry Regier, still facing criticism over his efforts to appoint a guardian for the fetus of a disabled rape victim, has hired a high-ranking attorney for the department who identifies himself as a culture warrior for religious conservatives.

James H.K. Bruner, the founder and former executive director of the conservative New York Family Policy Council, described public schools in a current newsletter as ''battlegrounds,'' and bemoaned how students are 'subjected to `diversity trainings' or 'tolerance instruction.' ''

More ....
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/6645465.htm

In case you don't open the link, this is why he's been hired:

- snip -
Bruner's hiring comes on the heels of one the department's more controversial moves: DCF has asked a Daytona Beach appeals court to order the appointment of a guardian for the fetus of a severely disabled rape victim. Known in court papers as J.D.S., the woman had been under DCF's care when she was assaulted.

Abortion rights activists claim the bid is aimed at securing a victory for the anti-abortion movement.

more ...

So much for the seperation of church and state, sounds more like collusion that is taking us backwards.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. question for Floridians
do many folks in your state recognize the insidiousness of the government infiltration brought in by Jeb! in his second term? Seems to be a hard turn to the religious right (as opposed to just the corporate right that marked his first term). Are folks aware of it? Getting nervous by it?

Under Graham and Chiles - I was under the impression that Floridians liked their state governments like we hoosiers seem to like them - moderate, restrained, conservative (not politically - but in the sense of not making too big of changes too quickly). This seems like a very different model of state government than what had been in the eighties through mid nineties.
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jiacinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yes
I see nothing wrong with "character education" as long as it doesn't become religious based. It is important that children learn the difference between right and wrong.
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Enraged American Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
5. The Golden Rule produces sheep...
and cannot be applied to a capitalist society. It only puts the cynics at an advantage.
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Blue_Chill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Thanks for pointing out what's wrong with the world
...
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #5
44. "... Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me."
Edited on Sun Sep-14-03 06:05 PM by TahitiNut
:eyes:
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George_Bonanza Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. Yes, religion should be taught in schools
I think religion should be taught in public schools. No conversion or any attempts at it, but it's absolutely PC stupidity to think that in a world so fraught with religious prejudice, all will be solved if we keep our kids ignorant and open to misinterpretations of various faiths. The more we teach kids about Islam, the less they will view every Arab as a terrorist. The more we teach kids about Christianity, the less they will resort to fundamentalism, a very unChristian thing. The more they teach kids about Wiccanism, the less they will view them as witches. And so forth. A lot of history books in schools gloss over religious details, which make up for some of the most important events in social history. This is pure chicken PC bullshit. Religious harmony will not come from ignorance.

I don't trust parents to personally teach religion. That's how radicals are made.

As for morals in school, as long as they're general, I see no problem with that. Schools today could use morals, with the cheating and bullying.
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oldcoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
27. Teachers have their own religious biases
Teachers can be just as radical as parents and, if not careful, can expose their students to their own prejudices. If given the opportunity, some teachers are more than happy to ridicule the beliefs of any one who is different. Some school administrators will even force Wiccan students to remove their religious jewelry while allowing Christian children to continue to wear their crosses. Unfortunately, schools willing to punish students for wearing religious jewelry will not do an adequate job in teaching students about various religious beliefs.


Bullying and cheating are nothing new. I remember when I was growing up that the teachers would punish students for cheating but tolerate bullying. At my schools, the teachers knew who the bullies were and would do nothing to the bullies, even if they witnessed these kids' violent behavior first hand. I think that the best way to teach students not bully other students is to discipline those students when they do something wrong. If students learn that there are consequences to their behavior, they might stop picking on other kids.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. Whoa!
1. Religion is not the same thing as ethics or morals. Yes, I know many faiths think they have morality all locked up, but it's just not so. Respect, integrity, honesty, etc. are not religious. They are universal precepts.

2. Teachers have biases, opinions, assholes, etc. just like everyone else. Happily, many of us recognize our biases and work to keep them contained. We don't have to be "teaching" ethics or morals for biases to emerge.

3. Teachers bring religious bias to the classroom, even subconsciously. I've seen it. But, see # 1.

4. The stereotypical, entrenched school environment operates on the carrot/stick, bribe/punish, threat/reward system to control behavior. That's not teaching ethics or morals. That's manipulating people to achieve the desired surface behaviors. All extrinsic. Teaching ethics or morals should lead to intrinsic motivation to be respectful, responsible, etc. The goal is for kids to internalize those values.

And yes, I can say I support a value-laden curriculum, if those values are universal concepts that lead to constructive, helpful lifelong habits.
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oldcoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #31
54. Allow me to clarify my points
1) I was responding to the post suggesting that teachers teach religion. The poster was concerned about the fact that he or she did not feel that parents should be responsible for teaching children about religion and thought teachers could do a better job than the parents. I disagreed with the poster because I do not believe that teachers are necessarily more objective than parents. The poster also was concerned about history texts not doing an adequate job in teaching the role of religion in American history.
While I do not believe that schools should gloss over the role of religion in history, I do think that teachers must take great care in addressing religion.

2) I never said religion was the same as ethics or morality. The post I was responding was suggesting teaching both morality and religion. I have no problem with teaching ethics or morality but have serious reservations about teaching religion. I consider religion an extremely personal issue and understand that many public teachers appreciate this fact. I also am sure that many teachers do acknowledge their biases and try to treat all their students with respect. Unfortunately, not all schools or teachers treat religious minorities fairly. It seems like the ACLU is still fighting many of the same battles for students' religious freedom today that it was fighting 40 years ago.

3) I also was trying to respond to the poster's comments about bullying being a problem today. Since the Columbine incident, public awareness about bullying has increased. When public awareness of an issue increases, many tend to assume that it is a new problem. This is why conservatives are so successful in appealing to average voters. They play into the popular perception that things are worse today then they were in the past and that we need to go back to the "good old days."

I would argue that, in regards to bullying, there are no "good old days" and that bullying was as much a problem in the past as it is today. When I was growing up (during the 1970s and 1980s), I had to deal with bullies at the schools I attended. My unhappy memories from junior and senior high school include being punched, kicked, and hit with a chair (in front of a teacher). Some of my fellow class mates even threaten to rape me. Many of my friends had similar experiences. Many of our teachers knew about the bullying because they witnessed it or we told them. In my case, the teachers told me that they would do nothing and that it was my problem. Some of my friends were allowed to transfer to other schools to escape their tormentors but their tormentors got to stay and find new victims.

No student should dread going to school for personal safety reasons. Yes, children should be taught at an early age to internalize certain values and to develop critical thinking skills. In order to accomplish this task, we need to provide a safe learning environment. Students need to concentrate on teachers and not spend class period thinking about how they are going to avoid being assaulted by their fellow students. As a teacher, you know that students learn from observation. If they see their fellow students getting away with bad behavior, it is going to be harder to teach them the importance of morals or ethics. For this reason, it is still necessary for schools to provide discipline and structure.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #54
57. Agreed with all.
Although I do believe that comparative religion is a necessary part of the curriculum for older students.

I actually think "ethics" and "morals" are broad enough to be open to many interpretations.

We have mandated "character education."

And, since I'm an IB school, we have a much stronger, more complex dose of citizenship and character ed. I think we're teaching morals and ethics when we teach those things.
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Clete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
7. When I briefly went to public school it was called
good citizenship. A good citizen doesn't steal from his neighbor etc. Ethics are pretty universal and don't need a religious reference to be taught. If parents want to send their kids to Sunday School for a religious version then that's where it should be taught, not in public school.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
56. In grade school, at least - we got 'citizenship' grades.....n/t
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
9. A loosely named "Civics" class I took in the early 80's
Edited on Sun Sep-14-03 01:05 PM by LanternWaste
I graduated in '84 and part of the AP program I was in required a Civics course taken either your Jr. or Sr. year. It was called Civics loosely as it covered basic sociology, culturalism (before the term, "multi-culturalism" entered the populat lexicon), and even involved a few weeks on "Fundamentals of Logic". Morals and Ethics was an additional coupla weeks.

That was a helluva class and has influenced me to this day. I have no idea if schools (whether public or private) still engage students in the type of discourse that happened in his classroom, but I certainly hope they do.


Couldn't tell you to this day whether Mr. Metcalf was a liberal or a conservative, but that is the one teacher, more than any other, who influenced my opinions and thought-processes. He told us on the first day of class, "There are questions and there are stupid questions. I'm going to give you the ability to decide for yourselves which is which. If you choose to accept the instructions, you'll possess an absolute advantage and if you choose not to, in twenty years, you can blame the school system". This guy was WAY ahead of his time :)


edited for spelling
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
10. Morals? No. Ethics? Yes.
I've always taken 'morals' to mean how I conduct myself, by myself. Ethics has always seemed to mean how I treat others.

So I say:
Morals? No place for 'morals education' in school -- that's a parent's job.
Ethics? Definitely has a place in school.

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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
11. Persistent acculturation ....
The ultimate source of societal mores is the society itself: ... it is the teachers and parents who, over time, inculcate 'values' into children, through constant exposure and reiteration of the basic moral tenets .... IE The Golden Rule, theft and assault etc ....

It is the PARENTS who are ULTIMATELY responsible for implanting moral concepts into their little charges ... It is THEY who will fill in the finer detail that further delineates the nuances and niceties of cultural moral expectations.

Even as an (EX) catholic who was strictly indoctrinated in church moral belief: I learned the bulk of my moral teachings from my mother ....

Blue ? ..... the question is: ... are YOU comfortable with the institution of public schooling indoctrinating YOUR children with a set of secular morals ? .... are you ok with a school that 'might' teach a moral code that does NOT coincide with that of the parents ? ....

Is it possible to teach a moral code in public schools that can pass muster for ALL 'faith-based' morality ? ... Will Hindus and Christians and Muslims and Jews ALL agree that a universal moral code could be transmitted to all public school children regardless of their individual faiths ? ...

Be careful what you ask for ..... Im sure many 'moral' citizens do NOT want public schools intruding in their exclusive domain: the moral minds of their own children ....
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Blue_Chill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
37. answers
are YOU comfortable with the institution of public schooling indoctrinating YOUR children with a set of secular morals ? .... are you ok with a school that 'might' teach a moral code that does NOT coincide with that of the parents ?

I'm fine with it as long as it is fairly basic. I'm not asking about what days to keep holy and thigns that belong in church. I'm thinking of programs reinforcing and rewarded students for doing whats right.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
13. Morals are not learned by teaching.
Edited on Sun Sep-14-03 01:23 PM by msmcghee
They are learned by example - in real life situations. School is a real life situation. Every day in school there are numerous lessons to be learned by example.

Like when large numbers of students cheat on tests - and teachers who certainly know what's happening don't say a word - putting all those who did not cheat at a disadvantage. The lesson is that cheating is OK as long as you are not stupid enough to get caught - and playing by the rules is for suckers.

Like when the coach starts yelling at the referee at the basketball game over some call. The lesson is that winning is all that counts and playing an honest game by the rules (including accepting the occasional bad call as part of the game) will get you nowhere.

Like when little kids are forced to recite the pledge of allegience with "under God" included (or face the disdain of their peers). The lesson is that mouthing some words to make people think you are not who you really are is fine. Perceptions are all that counts in life.

Like when college athletes get paid under the table (as everyone knows) and take performance enhancing drugs and steroids - because winning and getting as much as you can for yourself is by far more important than following some silly rules that no-one except you will know that you followed anyway.

I'm sure that almost every murderer in history (in this God fearing nation) at one time or another had the ten commandments "taught" to them. I'm sure all these repukes politicians were "taught" all ten of those commandments - at least they all say they were. Yet they still lie brazenly and openly every day of their lives when they think it suits their agenda.

You don't teach morality - it is learned by example and making a conscious choice to live an honest life rather than cheat to get ahead of others and "win for your side". There is no shortcut for this - and no holy book full of contradictions taught by hypocrites will show anyone the way to righteousness. It comes from the heart - not from others except by example.

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neebob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
17. Well, let's see
What great moral and ethical lessons did the schools of 1965-1978 teach me: Don't be a tattletale - never, ever tattle on anyone for anything. That's pretty much it. Now they teach the kids to tattle on everyone for everything. They have lots of rules about respect, but I don't see kids being any more respectful than their parents are. Actually, I think the schools put more effort into guilt-tripping parents on the points of TV time and homework help than teaching kids anything of real value.

I think the schools would do well just teaching kids to read - maybe add some questioning and discussion, just to show what reading is really for, besides just believing what you read. And throw in some truthful history. If they want to teach the Golden Rule while they're at it, that would be swell. They could make time for it by writing fewer guilt-tripping admonishments about reducing TV time and helping with homework assignments with bogus methodologies and poorly written instructions.

And speaking of bogus, I have to address the single-parent issue. Single parents who aren't focused on pairing off actually spend more time talking and developing relationships with their kids.
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amber dog democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Morals are taught
at home. I see nothing wrong with ethics being taught in public school.
Certinly we can illustrate the breaking down of ethical values by looking at what happens with companies like WorldCom, Enron, ? Health South?
We could look at how the Nixon and Reagan Administrations got into trouble too.

As a substitute teacher I saw too many kids that had one or more parents incarcerated or worse, with way too much baggage to be receptive to discussions on morals - Not that this has any place in public schools.
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IranianDemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
20. I have no problem with the Golden Rule being taught.
eom
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
22. I teach morals and ethics in my classroom every day.
In a huge variety of ways.

I teach about respect. Rights and responsibilities. Choices and consequences. Integrity and principles. Kindness and caring. Honesty and trustworthiness. Being a reflective person. And more.

I teach these things explicitly, with actual lessons. I teach them by modeling. We look for and discuss examples of these behaviors on a daily basis.

That doesn't mean that all of my students will grow up as living examples of these qualities, but they will be aware of them. They will have had the chance to reflect and decide what sort of life they want to lead, and person they want to be.
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preciousdove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
25. The Fundies were up in arms in the 80's and 90's because they were
teaching morals and ethics in schools. They got what they wanted so now they are complaining because Public schools teach no morals.

:argh:
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
34. How can they help but teach morals and ethics?
Even if there is no "official" class, morals and ethics are a subtext of everything that goes on in a school. Rewards and punishments are provided in response to conformity or discord with various sub-systems. Games of status in which one trades the trust of authority for standing in a clique and vice verse were certainly common during my time in public school. Schools can be thought of as a microcosm with their own self-contained structures, with tremendously important rites and sanctions which have virtually no meaning outside the "ivory tower", in which ethical experiments and procedures of moral indoctrination are performed on impressionable youth.

Consider some of the moral values which were imparted directly as early as primary school:
* Sit quietly at your desk
* Stand in an orderly line
* To ask a question, raise your hand and wait for the teacher's acknowledgement
* Don't look at your neighbor's work during tests
* Use a #2 pencil
* Take turns using the glue
* Organize only as permitted by your instructor

Compare these to some of the indirect lessons taught by association:
* Don't tattle, keep secrets
* Stick with your own kind, especially at lunch
* The more popular may make social demands of the less popular
* Socialites >> Athletes >> Punks >> Nerds >> Losers >> Outcasts

This structure is embedded in the foundation of society and reinforced by design.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
35. Check out this plan
http://www.kucinich.us/issues/issue_departmentpeace.htm

The Department of Peace will also address human development and the unique concerns of women and children. It will envision and seek to implement plans for peace education, not simply as a course of study, but as a template for all pursuits of knowledge within formal educational settings.

Violence is not inevitable. War is not inevitable. Nonviolence and peace are inevitable. We can make of this world a gift of peace which will confirm the presence of universal spirit in our lives. We can send into the future the gift which will protect our children from fear, from harm, from destruction.


Sounds like schools teaching ethics to me.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
39. Logic 101
Beginner's symbolic logic - eg. syllogisms
Logical Fallacies
Propaganda
Fascism, Sexism, ageism, homophobia etc. and the illogic behind it
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edward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. ....democracy...
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Terwilliger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
41. No
morals are given to you by your parents

ethics should start in school at a young age

and calculus
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Blue_Chill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #41
48. so then as parents have less and less time
we should let society go to shit? Isn't it time to stop pretending that parents cando everything on their own?
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. why do parents have less and less time?
Maybe, just maybe, if we address *that* then we also address the other.
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Terwilliger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #48
52. Isn't time to stop pretending that capitalism serves the needs of parents?
Isn't it?
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Kamika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
43. Yes i think they should
We have ALOT of problems in our society today, and they cannot be solved with lower/higher taxes. What we need is to teach young humans the value of life
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
46. not as such
Whose morals do you teach? The schools shouldn't be saddled with that. Programmatically, no - they wouldn't listen anyway.

That said, kids pick up life lessons from teachers too.
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quaker bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
47. To an extent it is unavoidable
Morals and ethics are taught in the process of simply creating a community in a school that can function. (Socialization) I would hope that most of this comes from the parents. But not lying, stealing, or doing physical violence to one another must be taught to any extent that the kids to come to school so equiped.

That aside, many religious and secular traditions have various further moral lessons that are not essential to basic school functions. These aspects of morality are clearly the responsibility of the parents.
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bbernardini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:16 PM
Response to Original message
50. Sure!
I'm in a unique position to respond to lots of topics today!

The school where I teach is very big on character. We try to teach the kids respect, integrity, responsibility...that sort of thing. We realize the ultimate decision is with the student, and encourage them to think for themselves. Obviously, some things should be left up to the parents. However, I don't see a problem with reinforcing such ideas as "stealing is wrong" and "everybody is equal" and "don't put your finger there...you don't know where it's been". As long as I've been there, we haven't had any complaints from parents about addressing issues such as respect and tolerance.
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mandyky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
51. Yes, secular morals and ethics though
Morals and ethics could be taught without bringing in any religion, but religious ideals could be discussed if brought up by the students.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
53. Here's an interesting link.
I don't know if you consider socialization "ethics and morals" or not; I know they are closely linked for public schools.

http://www.edweek.org /

Research shows that when schools pay attention to students' social and emotional development, children do better academically.
In Mary Ellen McDonnell's 3rd grade class, children have a lot of decisions to make.

Just one slice of a typical day offers an example. As social studies
begins, McDonnell asks: What do you want to learn today about Illinois' early explorers, and how should you go about learning it?

After discussion, and working out differences of opinion, the pupils set one academic goal and one social goal: In small groups, they will research how the early fur traders helped build Chicago, and they will practice listening well to one another. When they're done, they'll reunite and analyze what went well, what didn't go well, and why.

Classrooms like McDonnell's, in suburban Chicago, are part of a movement to teach children social and emotional skills along with academic content. Its advocates are working hard to persuade educators that schooling children this way does not divert the focus from academics, but actually helps foster learning.

The message can fall on skeptical ears at a time when schools face
unprecedented pressure to demonstrate achievement. But proponents of
"social-emotional learning" contend that schools will reach their academic goals more effectively if students, while tackling math or reading, are also learning how to manage emotions, challenges, and relationships and to make good decisions.

Researchers have long known that emotion plays a role in learning. Studies have shown, for instance, that stress can interfere with the brain's cognitive functions, and that students care more about learning when they feel attached to their schools and valued by their peers and teachers.

But a growing body of research suggests that a deliberate and comprehensive approach to teaching children social and emotional skills can raise their grades and test scores, bolster their enthusiasm for learning, reduce behavior problems, and enhance the brain's cognitive functions. That holistic approach to education has had its boosters and practitioners for many years, but emerging science is providing a stronger basis for their beliefs and helping catalyze a movement.

"Social-emotional functioning and academic functioning go hand in hand," says Jonathan Cohen, the co-founder and president of the Center for Social and Emotional Education, a nonprofit advocacy and research group in New York City. "Effective social-emotional learning creates an optimal climate for learning."

'Climate Change'
That's what Mary Tavegia, the principal of Cossitt School, where McDonnell teaches, has found during the seven years she has used the Child Development Project. The curriculum trains staff members and parents in how to create home and school environments in which children develop autonomy, competence, and a strong sense of belonging.

When the elementary school of 550 students in La Grange, Ill., undertook the transition, staff members feared they'd never finish the regular curriculum while also teaching self-awareness, empathy, decision making, and other skills, Tavegia says.

"This is a program that involves a climate change. It permeates
everything," she says. "You're not saying, 'Here is our 20 minutes a day to talk about how to get along together.' The class decides what to do and analyzes how it did. We talk through issues with kids, instead of saying, 'This is the way it is,' and moving on. It does take time."


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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 08:09 PM
Response to Original message
58. The "Golden Rule" is really about all we need to know..
Most kids want to be decent, and with a little guidance they can be :)

Kids need to be taught critical thinking..

When my youngest was in 4th grade, his GATE teacher (who also had a PHD) taught them "critical review" as it pertained to news and advertising...(I LOVED that teacher..

She also had a brother who was in the publishing business and their whole 4th grade English/spelling/grammar lessons were geared towards their yearlong project.. Their autobiography, with an emphasis on 4th grade.. Each kid got their own bound book, and a videotaped presentation was given to each family..

Of course there were only 11 in his class and she was an exceptional teacher, but that kid learned to cast a skeptical eye towards anyone with an "agenda"..

Bless her heart :)
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Lone_Wolf_Moderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
59. It depends,
I think schools should teach those basic civic and general values (integrity, hard work, decency, etc), but when you get into the religious realm, you run the ridk of subverting parents' authority. I may lose friends here, but I think kids should be able to VOLUNTARILY pray and read their Bibles, etc. I think schools should encourage good morals, but not neccesarily through explicit classroom instruction.
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