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Teaching ‘Character’ To Kids And Why It Matters

(Aidan Jones/Flickr)

(Aidan Jones/Flickr)

The effort to improve public education over the past decade and a half has been about standardized testing. Ever since No Child Left Behind became law, students and schools have been under significant pressure to meet academic benchmarks.

Once upon a time, character education was one of the guiding principals of American education. From Thomas Jefferson to Horace Mann, the country’s earliest intellectual leaders saw public education as a means to foster values like civic engagement, self-discipline, perseverance and compassion.

Today, as schools try to do a better job teaching the basics, character education has been pushed aside.

Along with reading, writing and math, should schools also teach character? One Harvard professor of education guest says the answer is yes — and that at least three schools in Boston are leading the way in the effort.

Scott Seider is an assistant professor of education at Boston University where his research focuses on the civic and character development of adolescents and emerging adults. (Aayesha Siddiqui/WBUR)

Scott Seider is an assistant professor of education at Boston University where his research focuses on the civic and character development of adolescents and emerging adults. (Aayesha Siddiqui/WBUR)

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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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