Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Character Education

In January 2009, the Plainfield school district began a Character Education initiative, with traits for each month and recognition of students who demonstrated the traits.

Click here to see the list for 2010.

In March, the traits were honesty and fairness. Sixteen students were recognized at the district's business meeting. But headlines were piling up about dishonesty at the top.

April's traits were cooperation and good sportsmanship: "Working together for a common purpose, the ability to take winning or losing without gloating or complaining." This as a conflict between a volunteer-operated youth baseball league and a city-run league heated up.

This month, the focus is on loyalty and good sportsmanship. Was the outgoing school board showing its loyalty to the schools superintendent by approving a token punishment in its final hours of power Monday? On the same night, the baseball feud boiled over into bitter protest and recriminations at a City Council meeting - in front of the kids.

Late yesterday came the news that the superintendent and two others had been arrested on charges involving placement of two out-of-district students in South Plainfield schools. Gallon may now be on a trajectory out of the Plainfield district.

June is coming, and its character trait is courage. If Gallon goes, the school board will need to show courage in facing up to the challenge of finding a new chief school administrator. No more secret searches, please. On the city side, elected officials must have the courage rise above personal differences and to fulfill their mandated roles, whether on the legislative or executive side. The Wizard of Oz is a very entertaining story, but let's hope none of our leaders has to take to the yellow brick road to find the courage to serve the public well.



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