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The Politics of Character Education

by David E. Purpel - 1997

We would all be better served by recognizing that the current so-called character education movement essentially represents an ideological and political movement rather than a debate about curricular and instructional matters. My basic criticisms of this approach, which are elaborated in this chapter, can be briefly stated as deploring the na´vetÚ or disingenuousness of the discourse and of the inadequacies of its political and social assumptions. I will try to show how this movement, far from being innovative and reforming, represents instead a longstanding tradition of using schools as agents of social stability., political stasis, and cultural preservation. I hope that this analysis will shed light on the more general issues of moral education and the moral nature of education.

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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 96, No. 2.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 98 Number 6, 1997, p. 140-153
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18783, Date Accessed: 6/22/2021 3:52:03 AM

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About the Author
  • David Purpel
    University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    E-mail Author
    DAVID E. PURPEL is a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Curriculum Foundations, School of Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
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