The Character Education Partnership

Many ASCD members are demonstrating an interest in character development through participation in the new Character Education Partnership, Inc. A non profit, nonpartisan organization incorporated in February 1993, the Partnership is a broad coalition of educators, business people, faith community leaders, and others who seek to develop civic virtue and moral character in our youth.

The Partnership, the result of a meeting funded by the Johnson Foundation and sponsored by ASCD with Princeton Project 55, brought together key national education organizations to recommit themselves to character education. The Partnership believes that character education is an essential element of successful school reform because it helps reduce negative student behavior, improve academic performance, and prepare young people to be responsible citizens.

The Partnership is beginning to provide service that include a clearing house on character education materials, an annual conference, and materials and expertise on how to develop a consensus on core values at the community level.

ASCD is a character member of the Partnership, holds a seat on its Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and is currently leasing the Partnership office space as part of ASCD's efforts to collaborate with other organizations toward mutual goals.

ASCD's own interest in character education dates back to an emphasis on values in the 1950s. In the late 1980s, ASCD began publishing books and articles on character education, including How to Plan a Program for Moral Education, by Merrill Harmin, and the May 1993 Update focused on character education programs. The 1993 ASCD Annual Conference included a strand on moral issues and, the 1994 conference will have a strand on values and beliefs. ASCD has also supported moral education through its resolutions.

For more information, contact John Martin, Executive Director, The Character Education Partnership, at (703)549-9110; or Diane Berreth, Deputy Executive Director, ASCD, at (703)549-9110, ext. 305, 1250 N. Pitt St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1453.

- Diane Berreth

The Character Education Partnership (