This brief essay (it will take 5 minutes or less to read) is an observation regarding how we as a
democratic society have arrived at our present state regarding Education, Character Education,
and Character Development. This extends to the present economics of the world and many of the
ills we are currently enduring.
This may be "preaching to the choir" as educators, but is revealing. As educators, we do have
values instilled within us. This has to be taken as a general "given." This is a factor of our chosen
pathway in life.
Remember Generation X? Those were the "latchkey kids" that came home from school and sat in
front of the TV or played video games while mom and dad were out trying to make a living. We all
thought this was terrible, with these young people not being parented in the traditional manner,
with traditional core values no longer being taught, both parents too tired and busy to spend the
time in mentor-ship of their children
This was an international occurrence. Generation X kids were doing the same in all developing
countries - the same was happening in Europe and the other democracies. This "latchkey kids"
phenomena was (and is) attributable to higher costs of living forcing both parents to work outside
of the home, a tremendous rise of divorce rates and the creation of the single parent household,
and many other mitigating circumstances as well...
This change in what had in the past been the "traditional household" was economic in reason, not
necessarily because of a lack of love or respect for their children.
But now Generation X is basically in charge of the globe, or are now coming into full power.
These Generation X "latchkey kids" have now grown up, and yielded our current Generation Y, the
kids we are now teaching. Again, the same "latchkey kid" situation prevails.
Here's the central issue: Generation Y is now being parented by a generation of parents that were
not parented in a traditional manner - lacking a "values rich" environment that had previously
been the norm. Generation Y is not received the training of traditional core values, same as their
parents were not. So how can we expect them to hold true to the core values found in the Top Ten
Pillars found on this web site when they are not being taught to do so?
Today, instead of coming home to TV and video games, Generation Y is coming home alone to the
Internet. Note the impact of this. Any fantasy they can think of, any idea they might have, they can
indulge in with complete freedom and impunity, whether it's pornography of any sort, social or
political commentary, regardless of it's truth or validity. After all, if is published material, our youth
generally accept it as "truth."
My generation (Baby Boomer's) were greatly mentored by our parents and taught traditional
values. Generation X was mentored by video games and TV, but greatly, Generation Y is being
mentored by the Internet. This is HUGE in scope.
Further, Internet filters are worthless. At the school I teach at, the largest school in the 4th largest
School District in California, the kids have codes to break through the firewall. It appears that
virtually every student can do this. My district upgraded to the finest filtering system available at
the beginning of this school year. Parental controls are just as easily bypassed at home.
This is why Making Positive Choices believes that core values can and should (must!) be taught
within schools. We believe that schools everywhere should have a comprehensive Character
Development program in place and continuously administered. In the greatest number of cases,
core values are just not taught at home today. Even if they are in some cases, our program
reinforces these values in a structured manner.
So the question is, "Who's in charge now?" We believe it is the Internet, and since the kids
believe that the Internet is "Truth," it has taken the place of the parent as mentor.
We can't stop the Internet, but we can insulate the outcomes.
And soon, will come Generation Z. Hence, the reason and need for a solid and interactive
"Character Development" program within our schools - the one place where virtually all youth
Given the construct of our program, with the four central themes of "Self-responsibility," "Work
Ethic," "Core Values" (The Pillars), and "Tolerance," our program is absolutely comprehensive,
easily administered, and naturally internalized. The free lesson plans drive home the concept...
If you want to raise self esteem and performance at all grade levels, lower drop out rates in the
upper grades, lower gang affiliation, create a rich and rewarding environment for our youth to
prosper and allow synergy to occur as a sparking force in this present day, then provide students
with an environment that inspires them to do so. If they feel safe, loved, and valuable within their
school community, they will not choose to go elsewhere. Please take this last statement into your
As a matter of personal development, our first Lesson Plan is "Knowing how valuable you are...,"
then moves forward during the following 34 lesson plans to lay the complete foundation. Please
read through these lesson plans.
And yes, language barriers are a great hindrance to our systems. But, we have always had this
issue and always will - the world as a whole is an immigrant entity now. There are procedures in
place today that were never in place at earlier times - identification of speech patterns, proximal
zone awareness, the identification of "BICS" (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills -
playground level speech) through "CALP" (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency - academic
fluency) and procedures to enhance this learning process and levels of proficiency, the districts'
initial testing and subsequent remediation - and so on. The list goes on, but processes are now in
place that are more advanced than ever before.
Within the US and Canada, I contend that what this program offers is deliverable at maximum
impact from beginning intermediate English language learners (BICS) and upwards (to CALP).
Some words about the previous mention of the "economic ills" we are now experiencing. Who do
you think is the age group that is working at the front line of business? Generation X is now 24- 42
years of age. As an example (I'm a real estate broker), consider that a household with a $75,000
income can (in reality) qualify for perhaps a $125,000 home. The average home price was $228,000
at the time when real estate was booming. How did these people qualify for these loans? This
same phenomena was occurring worldwide. The residential real estate business was built upon
lies and deception - I witnessed it first hand locally, but it was happening around the globe.
How were all of these homes that are in foreclosure (11.5 million in the US alone and counting)
sold? As the old timers like me cringed, documents were fraudulently concocted showing
astronomical incomes that just weren't real - "Pandora's Box" was opened with the "stated
income" loan - with no verification of income required.
The general rule in real estate was to lie through ones' teeth. This mentality is now pervasive
within societies - to say or do whatever is necessary to "get the deal done." This extends to
converting an elderly couples' 401k to an inferior product (unregulated hedge funds?,
"derivatives"???) for a $300 commission, to a myriad of other financial and social misdeeds.
These were all packaged and bundled together and sold globally, with zero concern for the
individual. Retirement accounts have been wiped out, businesses closed, etc., truly, a house of
cards. And, this happened / is happening globally - don't for a second think that it is isolated to
your town, city, state, or country.
And now, here comes Generation Z...
Right now, to do nothing is just not acceptable.
Making Positive Choices
Reasoning with the issues...
Since enacting this program at our "pilot" school, within 2
years, the overall graduation rate (retention rate) went
from 58% to 88% (a 51% increase) - this is a Title 1 school
in an impoverished location.
(click here for data)