David Brooks' column in the New York Times yesterday contained this castigation of schools:
There is something chivalric and archaic about this form of political courage. Churchill and Thatcher had it, so did T.R. But today it is disdained in schools, where gentler virtues are held dear.
He goes on to say:
This is not the golden age of manliness, but Schwarzenegger, Giuliani and McCain are three of the most popular figures in America today.
Generally, I attack broad swipes at schools, but I'm not so sure this time. It's certainly not the golden age of manliness. Seen any commercials lately? Sitcoms?
As for schools, I don't know. MNPS used to have "Demonstrates courage" as one component of its character education program. However, I found that on a search of the MNPS web site under the "Core Curriculum" guidelines and, since we've abandoned Core, I don't suppose those are still applicable. I didnt' see anything else on a current character education program, but I suspect we have one.
That doesn't answer the larger question as to whether schools encourage or discourage the kind of courage exhibited by Mssrs. Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, and McCain: the courage to take a stance that's not politically acceptable to a vocal, loud group and stick with it. There, I suspect schools are like the rest of society, very ambivalent about real, indepedent courage when they actually have it in their midst.