Character Education

Adopted 1968 – Revised February 2019 – Education Commission

California State PTA believes the responsibility for character education is shared by the home, place of worship, school, and community. Character education is education that nurtures and promotes the ethical, intellectual, social and emotional development of individuals. It is a continuous learning process that enables students to become moral, caring, critical and responsible individuals.

Effective character education programs require the entire community’s participation. Such programs should be integrated throughout the entire school curriculum and culture through curriculum development, consensus building, community engagement, technology and professional development.

Character education helps students achieve academic, career and social/emotional development goals to become positive contributors to society. Comprehensive character education addresses many tough issues in education while supporting a positive school climate. Character education includes and complements a broad range of educational approaches such as whole child education, service learning, social-emotional learning, and civic education. All share a commitment to helping young people become responsible, caring, and contributing citizens.

A character education curriculum should incorporate the concepts of responsibility, respect, integrity, compassion, understanding, honesty, justice, empathy, perseverance and courage, including:

  • Responsibility for one’s own actions
  • Respect for one’s own worth and dignity;
  • Respect for parents, teachers and those in authority;
  • Development of self-discipline, self-responsibility and civility to others;
  • Respect for home, school and community members;
  • Respect and understanding of differences in socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, language ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and physical abilities for all individuals;
  • Consideration of the rights of the group as well as of the individual;
  • Development of integrity, understanding, honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, fairness and compassion;
  • Development of perseverance and courage;
  • Ability to think independently, critically, objectively, and creatively.

Schools that embrace character education become places people want to be because they bring out the best in everyone.

California State PTA believes that, to be effective in schools, character education must involve everyone—school staff, parents, students, and community members—and be part of every school day. All adults should serve as role models.  Character education should be integrated into the curriculum as well as school culture. When this happens and school communities unite around developing character, students develop into respectful and caring global citizens.

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