It would seem that our public standards of “good moral character” are too low. In the case of Florida, where “good moral character” might once have meant being kind, loving, courageous, merciful, and wise, it now means that one hasn’t committed a heinous crime.
Character formation involves behaviors that students use both in the school and outside the school. In this way, students embody the highest goal of education: to become responsible people who are accountable to themselves and to others for their actions and behaviors.
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) predicted a day when it would be impossible to say, “Thou shalt not.” In late-modern North America, we are fast approaching that day. To the degree that this is true, it will influence how we think about and engage in character formation.