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Letters to the Editor

Re: Editorial, April 14Your editorial, “Schools Continue to Serve as Remote Parents,” serves as a reminder to the irresponsible and closed-minded attitude in this society.

Character education is more than planting a garden or caring for a neighbor. The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics discusses the Six Pillars of Character, used in that company’s “Character Counts” program developed for use in schools. The pillars are respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Just imagine if Hillsborough County schools focused on character instead of FCAT numbers – maybe the “dismal graduation rates and atrociously high dropout rates” you mentioned would improve.

Children spend six to seven hours a day in school, which provides an opportunity for developing social skills along with “algebra” and “questions on standardized tests.”

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, states that advances in neuroscience research prove that “The emotional centers of the brain are intricately interwoven with the neocortical areas involved in cognitive learning.”

Children can’t learn if the brain’s centers for learning are emotionally distressed.

Character education can help alleviate this stress if the child is learning in a socially and emotionally healthy environment. You claim that “it isn’t the state’s job” to teach character education.

What good can come out of slamming facts and figures down the throats of children if they are unable to function in society when they grow up? Character education is a way for this country to find its way out of the hate, intolerance and ignorance that many parents have fostered in their children.

I believe it is the responsibility of our schools and government to teach character education with the hope that every child will be given “access to a well-rounded education.” Florida needs to teach character education if it ever wants to succeed in teaching academics successfully.

I have four children under the age of 8 who attend a private school that teaches character education. I would prefer to send them to public school, but I won’t until Hillsborough County improves its current character education program.

Debbie Shultz is a junior majoring in creative writing.