Parents as character educators

Regarding the front-page article " `Character Education' May Become Need of '90s," Jan. 14: I am fascinated, yet appalled with the brash statement that education experts believe that ethics should be taught in schools. I agree with Robert Frank of Cornell University that, "People don't get born into this world knowing what the rules are." But the assumption that virtues and ethics can be taught in schools when children are five or six years old is a gross misplacement of responsibility.

The responsibilities for teaching ethics, values, and virtues lie with the parents. Since the end of World War II, and subsequent decades of growing affluence, the public has developed inflated, even exalted ideas as to the obligation of schools in the teaching, training, and nurturing of children. To render the schools responsible for the actions of our children is simply passing the buck. Certainly schools should be a reinforcement, but not the major force. Jean B. Forster, State College, Pa.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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