Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from Wrong: Moral Illiteracy Case Character Education

Will Kilpatrick, Author, William H. Kilpatrick, Author
Will Kilpatrick, Author, William H. Kilpatrick, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (352p) ISBN 978-0-671-75801-1
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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Attacking the moral relativism of such current approaches to the teaching of ethics as Values Clarification, Kilpatrick, an education professor at Boston College, calls for a return to a traditional model of teaching morality based on content rather than decision making. In tracing the history of character education, he dissects the moral reasoning curriculum of Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg and the feminist theories of Carol Gilligan. He suggests that schools should become more authoritative and that parents should discipline their children and read to them (he includes a lengthy, annotated Guide to Great Books for Children and Teens). His jeremiad hits the mark when aimed at ambiguous approaches to drug and sex education. But with his more general assertions--such as, in a discussion of rap and rock music, The beat says, 'Do what you want to do,' --Kilpatrick fails to convince. Author tour. (Oct.)
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