Saturday, November 20, 2010

Study Finds Few Benefits in Character Education

"Efficacy of Schoolwide Programs to Promote Social and Character Development and Reduce Problem Behavior in Elementary School Children"

We had a conversation on another thread titled, The consequences of our love affair with gadgets, discussing whether or not character, social skills or empathy can be taught in our schools, as well as, whether or not schools are actually set up as good learning environments for today's children, especially boys. Interestingly, it seems the federal government has been conducting a 3 year study on whether or not character education as a curriculum component, is effective. The results are rather surprising and disappointing.

From Education Week -
The largest federal study to date of character-building or social-development programs has found that, for the most part, they don’t produce any improvements in student behavior or academic performance.

The Institute of Education Sciences gauged the effects of seven typical schoolwide programs from across the country: the Academic and Behavioral Competencies Program, the Competence Support Program, Love in a Big World, Positive Action, Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS), the 4Rs (Reading, Writing, Respect, and Resolution) program, and Second Step. . . .

In the intervention schools, the study found, the programs did significantly increase educators’ use of character-development instruction over three years. For example, 68 percent to 72 percent of teachers in the schools doing one of the programs reported doing a related activity to address a school character education goal, compared with only 20 percent to 36 percent of teachers in control-group schools.

But the programs did not improve the use of schoolwide strategies related to character building, teachers’ attitudes, or teachers’ use of routine classroom practices, such as engaging students in decision-making, that are thought to contribute to students’ character development.

Across 20 student and school indicators, covering school climate and student behavior, academics, and social and emotional growth, the programs showed no overall evidence of improving students’ academic performance, behavior, perceptions of the school climate, or their social growth. While teachers did report getting more support from students in the first two years, that effect faded by year three.

Some program advocates argued the study did not follow the students long enough to see more slow-developing results.

Click here to download the 650+ page study.


Anonymous said...

I think Red Ribbon week is old and tired as well. Anyone else agree?

Anonymous said...

Team Jester just knocked on my door with an absetee ballot.

Anonymous said...

Surely you meant absentee ballot application?

Registered voters have to actually request an absentee ballot. If someone actually has ballots and are passing them out - uh oh...

Anonymous said...


Ballot application. They mail ballots.

Anonymous said...

I think they had to get these out because the county in their infinite ineptitude, didn't actually get the absentee ballots printed until like, yesterday!

Anonymous said...

So these are suprising results?? NO _______ Sherlock! It's like pushing water up hill with your hands. Trying to teach what should have been taught at home fails miserably because when the
"students" (and I use this term loosely) go home, there is little if any reinforcement of acceptable behavior. If anything, the positive lessons are met with
an opposing negative force far greater.

There is very little upside many students see in exhibiting "civil behavior." A continuing parade of the next generation of government supported "citizens" believing in the right to entitlement and access to the wealth of others.

Once in a great while a few of the products produced in the education factory, fall outside of the bell curve and in spite of it all, manage to break free and succeed. These outliers are the exception and we have accepted that instead of making this the expected result.

We've lowered the bar in all areas, from academics, behavior and's is no wonder the system has failed.

Anonymous said...

Red ribbon week has always reminded me of the red, junior-anti-sex-league sash worn by Winston's girlfriend in 1984. I guess the people who thought up red ribbon week never read that novel.

Anonymous said...

In regards to character education. My teaching peers always look at me funny when I tell them that pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Policies of character education are based on personal beliefs. But character education should be done by example not by a scripted policy.

Anonymous said...

Red ribbon week from my single school experience seems strange to me. Drugs, smoking and alcohol are all thrown into the mix with little logical discussion as too why are doctors allowed to give you drugs, why is smoking legal or why is there an age limit on smoking and drinking. I think it leaves the kids confused. Mostly I think it's a lot of hoopla that justifies having school counselors in every elementary school.

Anonymous said...

AJC said yesterday that the search firm out of Iowa was a done deal. Anyone have more info on this?

Anonymous said...

Ray and Associates was approved a month ago or so. They have the position posted on their website.

Cerebration said...

This is from the 11/19 board meeting agenda -

Approval of Contract for Ray & Associates, Inc.

Quick Summary / Abstract
Presented by: Mr. Thomas E. Bowen, Board Chair

On October 22, 2010, the DeKalb Board of Education approved the award to Ray & Associates, Inc. (RFP 11-26) to serve as facilitators in the Superintendent's Search process. The contract has been reviewed and approved by Board Counsel.

Ms. Uladia Taylor, Assistant Director, Purchasing, 678.676.0279

Requested Action
It is recommended that the Board of Education approve the contract for services to be rendered by Ray & Associates, Inc. during the Superintendent's Search process.

Motion by: ___________________
Seconded by: ________________
Vote: _____________

Approved by Board Counsel

Anonymous said...

I googled Does Red Ribbon Week Work and Is Red Ribbon WEek effective and found this document that clearly says it hasn't been evaluated.

Ok, this document is from the national sponsors. It is meant to convince the skeptics that it works even though no evaluation has been done.

This program has been around since 1986. It should be evaluated.

Anonymous said...

You can watch the Board discussion of the search firms by going to this link and strolling down to the link of the interview meeting.

Anonymous said...

Will Ray and Co "find" Dr Beasely after a nation wide search? Will the new super be interviewed by the NBBC Elders?

Stay tuned for the never ending heart wrenching, but sometimes humorous, saga of "As DCSS Burns" (together with the rest of DeKalb County)

Anonymous said...

I don't think that is the plan. I genuinely believe that the majority of the board wants an outsider. Now will an outsider want us? This little tidbit from the AJC article about the latest in the Atlanta schools gives a little hope.

Don Rooks, a Georgia School Boards Association consultant who helps districts hire superintendents, said school boards may appoint from within or advertise nationally for candidates. A superintendent does not have to be an educator. In Georgia, "you must have ... a master's degree and three years of leadership -- business executive leadership," Rooks said.

The heat of a federal probe into cheating could give some candidates pause about taking the Atlanta schools' job, but districts facing challenges can offer more pay to make superintendent jobs attractive. “I have run into few superintendents who say, ‘Boy, I’m going to a school district where there are no problems,’ ” Rooks said.

Mary Kay Murphy, a longtime Georgia School Boards Association member, said new superintendents across the nation are being hired from outside the classroom.

Cerebration said...

Hey Kim! Don't you have a Master's degree and way over three years of business leadership?!!

Kim Gokce for superintendent!

We couldn't get someone with higher ethics and a passion for kids!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:40, you are an inspiration. You were able to state so eloquently what many of us clear thinking individuals have known for a long time. If a person is continually given things without earning them, there is no motivation to work hard. Many of my students are living, breathing examples of what the entitlement society has produced. (By the way, they are failing all of their classes.)

Character Education said...

Red ribbon week was great for me, i experienced new things.