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Schools convey to children what is expected of them, what is normal, what is right and wrong.It is often claimed that values are caught rather than taught; through their ethos, schools socialize children into patterns of moral behavior.Of course, good people can make bad judgments; it's often not easy to know what is morally right.The second task of moral education is to provide students with the intellectual resources that enable them to make informed and responsible judgments about difficult matters of moral importance.We will argue that “moral education” is an umbrella term for two quite different tasks and approaches.The first, which might better be called moral “socialization” or “training,” is the task of nurturing in children those virtues and values that make them good people.To put a little flesh on these theoretical bones, we will take sex education as a case study.

Although economics courses and texts typically avoid overt moral language and claim to be “value free,” their accounts of human nature, decision making, and the economic world have moral implications, as we have seen.According to the “Character Education Manifesto,” “all schools have the obligation to foster in their students personal and civic virtues such as integrity, courage, responsibility, diligence, service, and respect for the dignity of all persons” (Boston University, 1996).The goal is the development of character or virtue, not correct views on “ideologically charged issues.” Schools must become “communities of virtue” in which “responsibility, hard work, honesty, and kindness are modeled, taught, expected, celebrated, and continually practiced.” An important resource is the “reservoir of moral wisdom” that can be found in “great stories, works of art, literature, history, and biography.” Education is a moral enterprise in which “we need to re-engage the hearts, minds, and hands of our children in forming their own characters, helping them `to know the good, love the good, and do the good'” (Boston University, 1996).We will offer our answer by way of a sketch of a theory of moral education.Given this theory—and the civic and educational frameworks we outlined in Chapters 1 and 2—we will draw out the implications for the role of religion in moral education.

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