On Thursday, May 6, 2021, three people joined me for a conversation about Character Education in Action: Peter Becker, Head of the Frederick Gunn School; Sarah Clement, Interim Vice President for Programs at the John Templeton Foundation; and Andy Smarick, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Each panelist was invited to participate because he or she has experience working in the field character education or formation.
Our dialogue centered around an article Andy Smarick published in Education Next on March 18, 2021 titled “An Encouraging Consensus on Character Education.” His goal for writing this article was to create a foundation for a new character-education agenda. To gain insights into this, Smarick posed a set of questions to 18 experts from various arenas of education research, policy, politics, and practice. His findings raised interesting points worth consideration.
Here are some of the questions that I asked of each panelist:
Andy – You have worked on education issues at the state and federal level, as a social entrepreneur, and thinker. The latest example of this work is the article you published in Education Next. Tell us why you decided to write about character education? Did anything in your stakeholder interviews surprise you? At a high level, what are we getting right and wrong about character education from a policy or advocacy perspective?
Sarah – You work for a foundation that believes character education matters to those who deliver it, and to those who receive it. What attracted you to the field of character education in general, and to philanthropy in particular? How can your view of character education and formation from inside philanthropy help those of us in research, policy or advocacy think creatively about our work?
Peter – You work in a school where educators, staff, and families play an important role in the formation of the character of young people. What role does leadership play in character education? How can your view of character education and formation as a school leader help those of us in research, policy or advocacy think deeply about our work?
The panelists identified areas of agreement, disagreement, as well as shared ideas about how to bridge the gaps between character theory and practice.
To watch or listen to this informative conversation, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z1oFiR-OC4