A nearly 700-page federal report says character education – a pillar of former president George W. Bush's youth policy – does not lead to improved student behavior or classroom performance.
Researchers tracked third through fifth graders for three years after they were placed in one of seven school-wide character education programs, and compared that group to a control group who did not participate in them.
Researchers based results on interviews with students, teachers, intervening caregivers and principals, measuring student outcomes in such behavior areas as altruism, empathy, aggression and minor delinquency, and in such academic areas as school engagement, standardized test scores and grades.
Youth in the programs had no improved character or academic skills when compared with students in a control group, observed researchers from the U.S. Department of Education.
A free copy of the report is available here: http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/pubs/20112001/pdf/20112001.pdf.