Essay about Teaching Morality

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Teaching Morality

In The Night is Dark and I am Far From Home, Jonathan Kozol writes that "The first goal and primary function of the U.S. public school is not to educate good people, but good citizens." (1). He implies that the public school has no function but to turn out people who will vote, pay their taxes, and follow the nations laws without protest. If this is so, and I believe that it is, should the philosophy of the public school system be changed to produce morally upright individuals? I believe that schools should try to produce the best people they can. Many people argue that morals should be taught at home, but that isn't good enough. Some say that good citizens make good people, but I say that that isn't the case.

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Still, a back-up plan is needed. So the question remains: if parents aren't available or able, to make sure that their children grow up with a good strong moral foundation, who will?

The only answer that truly makes sense is school. For six hours a day, five days a week, 180 days a year, children are forced to spend their time in a classroom. Teachers are with their students sometimes more than the children's parents are. These adults that are entrusted with the education of our youth during their most formative years are in a position to exert a tremendous influence. We should take advantage of that, not shun it.

Some people argue that if schooling teaches a child how to be a good citizen, then being a good person will take care of itself, as if good citizenship begets a good person. This isn't necessarily the truth.

"The rougher kids called him 'a pinko,' 'hippie,' 'garbage,' 'Communist,' or 'faggot.'" (Kozol, 129)During much of my high school career, while I was never called anything like that, I was not very popular. I had friends who I was very close to, but I was never one of the people in the midst of the social whirl that can be found at any high school. I didn't go to parties, I seldom, if ever, went out on dates, and the only time that I mixed with the popular crowd was in class, if we had group work.
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