I found it kind of disturbing yesterday to read that Minnesota is awarding 1.5 million dollars to outside contractors to develop “character education” materials. It made me wonder why they didn’t spend the money on teacher’s salaries. Elementary/middle school teachers are notoriously underpaid, but that doesn’t mean that they are incapable of developing lessons that promote values. Buzzword education seems to be working though:

“There are visuals all over the school,” Lockhart said. “And it’s talked about in the morning announcements, on the playground, on buses, in the cafeteria, in the computer lab, in the gym when we have assemblies — these are everywhere where the children are in Lincoln school. I had a little boy the other day who said, ‘Ms. Lockhart, the word of the day is even on the urinal.’ ”

Perhaps it’s just that the government is afraid that they won’t convey the party line family values. The government strategy is pretty simple: don’t trust the educators, trust educational corporations. It reminded of a similar educational initiative regarding sex education. Abstinence comes to Albuquerque is worth watching as an example of the dangers of “contracted” educational materials. But more than that, the results of education using canned keywords and phrases seem pretty clear from another breaking story:

“Clem was extremely well-known in the department and a likeable guy,” said St. Paul Police Federation president Dave Titus.

Off the clock, Tucker was known as a boxing enthusiast and trainer who ran B.T. Bombers boxing club in St. Paul. Harrington said graffiti anti-drug and anti-gang messages decorate the exterior.

Tucker trained St. Paul and suburban cops in his gym and helped with the police academy, said Harrington, who said he knows nothing about the drug case.

Apparently, Clemmie H. Tucker didn’t read his own slogans, because he’s at the center of the largest drug bust ever in the Twin Cities. Education by keywords, even color coded ones, seems to be an incredibly stupid idea. I’m not sure that “character education” picnics do much either, although those are some mighty fine keywords in the windows.

2 thoughts on “TRFCC”

  1. For anyone who knows Clemmie H. Tucker or his family, this is a complete shock. Mr. Tucker was overwhelmingly involved in the community and was a huge role model for many people young and old. My father was former a St. Paul Police officer with Mr. Tucker over 20 years ago and our families spend many Holidays together since then. This is not something that ANY of us would expect from him. Not to make excuses or to say that this is acceptable because it’s not, but there has been a lot setbacks in the Tucker family recently. With the murder trial of his only son and the medical condition of his wife, there has been A LOT of financial setbacks for the Tucker family. Like I said not to make excuses for what he has done because there isn’t an excuse, I’m just trying to paint a picture of his life so others can see what would make man of this caliber go to this extent.

  2. Thanks, Zack. You have sort of reinforced my point. Character is a complicated thing, and it is not easily reduced to a group of easily swallowed buzzwords. We all make choices, good and bad, which have little to do with a few carefully chosen words.

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