Teaching Values in the Schools
Baer, Richard A., Jr.

When groups of "concerned parents" first voiced objections to the use of values clarification in the public schools, proponents of the method typically brushed aside their complaints as little more than reactionary right-wing response to educational innovation. After all, Lewis Raths, Merrill Harmin, and Sidney Simon, who had originated the method in the middle 1960's had explicitly stated that they were interested not in teaching particular values, but only in clarifying the student's own values. In contrast to earlier traditional attempts to teach values by filling the students' minds with a predetermined set of "true" or "correct" values, values clarification, they maintained, was truly nonsectarian and noncommittal about particular values. Who would possibly object to it unless they were covertly trying to promote their own rigid and outdated value structures in the schools?