Character education

Regarding the front-page article " `Character Education' May Become Need of 90s," Jan. 14: People expect schools to make up for their own failings as parents. It is not the job of the schools to do this, nor could they if they tried. What effect can courses in ethics have when students return home and see their parents cheating on taxes or on each other, lying to business associates, and flouting laws?

How successful can formal ethics education be when kids, ignored by their parents, turn to TV or the streets, where they see mainly examples of unethical behavior. Maybe what is needed in schools are not courses on ethics, but rather courses on parenting. Jeff Johnson, San Francisco

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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