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Values Clarification Class

I recently saw the story of a high school values clarification class conducted by a teacher in Teneck, New Jersey. A girl in the class had found a purse containing $1000 and returned it to its owner. The teacher asked for the class’s reaction. Every single one of her fellow students concluded the girl had been “foolish.”

Most of the students contended that if someone is careless, they should be punished. When the teacher was asked what he said to the students, he responded, “Well, of course, I didn’t say anything. If I come from the position of what is right and what is wrong, then I’m not their counselor. I can’t impose my views.”

It’s no wonder that J. Allen Smith, considered a father of many modern education reforms, concluded in the end, “The trouble with us reformers is that we’ve made reform a crusade against all standards. Well, we’ve smashed them all, and now neither we nor anybody else have anything left.”

Senator Dan Coats, Imprimis, Vol. 20, #9, Sept. 1991