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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

The following postings have been filtered by category Character Education. clear filter
  •  Navigating the Minefield of Social Media: Suggestions for Educators

    Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2011 10:47 AM

    If a student comes to school personnel with a complaint about cyberbullying, the school needs to do something about it—even if the offensive content was generated off campus.

    That was the message of Sr. Mary Angela Shaughnessy, executive director of the Education Law Institute, when she talked with Catholic school leaders at the Catholic School Principals' Institute (CSPI) held this week at Santa Clara University. Shaughnessy, one of the foremost experts on Catholic school law in the country, is legal counsel and dean of the graduate school at St. Catharine College in Kentucky.

    She told educators that they couldn't be expected to monitor students' off-campus Internet behavior, but that once online bullying was brought to their attention, they were obliged to deal with it. She suggested that teachers ask for copies of the offensive e-ails, contact the student's parents, and tell the principal. Schools "should reserve the right to discipline students for conduct on or off school property," she said.

    Her remarks were part of an overview of new ethical and legal issues for schools emerging from technology and social media. She reported on a Kaiser Family Foundation Study that 8 to 18 year-olds spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day using entertainment media—10 hours and 45 minutes if you count their multi-tasking.

    The implications for schools include poorer performance from the heaviest media users. Youngsters who used more than 16 hours of media a day self-reported grades of mostly C or lower.

    She also warned educators to create clear boundaries between their professional and personal lives online. Shaughnessy and her colleague Michael Huggins offer these specific guidelines for teachers on the use of social media:

    • Think carefully about the content you post. If your Facebook or other profile lists you as a teacher at a school, your online behavior will reflect on the school.
    • Do not friend your students from your personal Facebook page or accept friend requests from students. If you need a Facebook presence for a class, create a separate page and ask your principal to be a "friend."

    CSPI brings leaders from Northern California Catholic schools to Santa Clara Univerity for workshops of shared challenges.  CSPI is sponsored by the Ethics Cer and the SCU Department of Education.

  •  Catholic School Principals' Institute

    Tuesday, Jun. 14, 2011 4:50 PM

    A three-day workshop on issues challenging Catholic school leaders, the Catholic School Principals' Institute, June 21-23, will address practical questions balanced with time for prayer, reflection, and interaction.  Topics include:

    Help! I'm a Leader not a Lawyer!
    How Can We make Sure We Continue to Do a Great Job?
    What Is the Continuous Improvement Process?
    Rethinking the Catholic School: Research on the Future of Catholic Schools

    Faculty for the institute are

    • Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN, expert in Catholic school law
    • Victoria L. Bernhardt, executive director of Education for the Future
    • Bradley J. Geise, contract data services manager for Education for the Future
    • Rev. Anthony Mancuso, chaplain of St. Francis High School and visiting scholar at the Ethics Center

    The institute was developed by the Ethics Center in collaboration with the SCU Catholic Schools Advisory Board and Catholic School Leadership Program in the Department of Education.



  •  Education Policy Expert Linda Darling-Hammond to Speak

    Monday, May. 23, 2011 12:07 PM

    Named by Education Week as one of the top 10 people affecting educational policy in the United States over the past decade, Linda Darling-Hammond will talk about "Teaching and the Moral Imperative" in a talk Weds., May 25, 5 p.m., for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.  Darling-Hammond is the Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University.  Her talk will be held in the California Mission Room of the Benson Center on the Santa Clara University campus.  

  •  Character Education in Alaska

    Thursday, May. 5, 2011 2:22 PM

    The Bering Strait School District has become the latest to adopt the Ethics Center's Character-Based Literacy Leadership curriculum. 

    As the district describes itself:

    "The Bering Strait School District, in northwest Alaska, serves fifteen isolated villages on the Seward Peninsula, on the eastern end of Norton Sound and on two islands in the Bering Sea. Current enrollment is approximately 1800 students and is almost 100 percent Alaskan Native Inupiat, Yu'pik or Siberian Yu'pik Eskimo.Although the number of students served is relatively small, the area served covers approximately 80,000 square miles. Most of the schools are accessible only by small bush aircraft."

    CBL Trainer Tom Kostic will provide both in-person workshops and Web-based presentations for the district's scattered teachers. 

    The CBL curriculum is used by the majority of California county offices of education, as well as individual school districts nationwide.


  •  Educational Administration and Theatre

    Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2011 12:59 PM

    This April 7, noon-time discussion explores using ethics case studies as theatre to promote authentic exploration of challenges for administrators, staff, and teacher-leaders in both K-12 and higher education. Presenters are Jerome. Cranston, assistant professor of educational administration, Faculty of Education at University of Manitoba, and Kristin Kusanovich, senior lecturer, Department of Theatre and Dance and Liberal Studies Pre-Teaching Program, Santa Clara University.

  •  The Dangers of Corporate Education Reform

    Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 4:53 PM

    Diane Ravitch, historian of education and policy analyst, decried what she called the "corporate reform movement" in education when she spoke at SCU Feb. 24 at the invitation of the Ethics Center. 

    Countering the movement’s chief claim—that schools should be run like businesses—Ravitch took on many of today’s popular reform ideas including evaluating teachers based on test scores, merit pay for teachers, and charter schools. She especially challenged the notion that the problem with the system is bad teaching, and that the schools will improve if they fire bad teachers and principals. These proposals, she argued, are wrong. “They are based on ideology not on evidence, and they are demoralizing millions of teachers.” 

    As an example, she cited research on merit pay, which she said has never been shown to work. A study by Vanderbilt University’s National Center on Performance Incentives, released in September 2010, found, “Rewarding teachers with bonus pay, in the absence of any other support programs, does not raise student test scores.” Still, Ravitch reported, the US Department of Education has released $1 billion to support merit pay programs.  

    Ravitch was especially scathing about the recent documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” which holds up charter schools as a solution for problems with the current system. A basic claim of the movie, that 70 percent of eighth graders are reading below grade level, is, according to Ravitch, a complete misreading or misunderstanding of the National Assessment of Education Progress. In that test only 30 percent of students were labeled “proficient,” but that grade, she explained, is the equivalent of an A. The accurate figure is 25 percent of eighth graders reading below basic, a group that includes English language learners and children with disabilities.  

    Ravitch also strongly disagreed with the movie’s conclusion—that charter schools were the answer to problems in the system.   She referred the audience to the Stanford University CREDO study, which found that it found that “17 percent of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools, while 37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse than their traditional public school counterparts, with 46 percent of charter schools demonstrating no significant difference.” 
    Ravitch stressed that she was not a supporter of the status quo in our nation’s schools. “But we need improvement based on proven strategies, not radical strategies developed by non-educators,” she said. Proven strategies she suggested included high quality pre-K programs, parent education programs, easy access to medical treatment, more professionalism, superintendents who are expert educators, better assessments, balanced curriculum in every grade and diagnostics for low-performing schools instead of closing schools. 
    Ravitch's appearance at SCU was co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Club-Silicon Valley.  She was one of the Ethics Center's two 2010-2011 Regan lecturers.
  •  Diane Ravitch on the Paradox of Education Reform

    Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 7:22 PM

    Author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education Diane Ravitch speaks Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm at the Mission Room of the Benson Center on the Santa Clara University Campus.

    A historian of education and policy analyst, Ravitch is a research professor at New York University.  Check out the blog she co-writes with Deborah Meier, Bridging Differences.  

  •  Bullying: Effective Strategies

    Monday, Jan. 3, 2011 5:21 PM

    In an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, Center Character Education Director Steve Johnson talks about what actually works to stop bullying:

    • Educating, not just punishing, the perpetrators.
    • Training bystanders to be allies of the victim.
    • Not allowing the isolation or taunting of any child for any reason.


  •  Character Education and Faith Formation

    Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 10:09 AM

    "Facilitating Ethical Literacy" and "Teaching Virtues Through Literature" are two workshops to be offered by Steve Johnson, Center director of character education, at the Nov. 19-20 Faith Formation Conference in Santa Clara.

    The conference will bring  more than 2,000 attendees from all over Northern California to the Santa Clara Convention Center. 

    Johnson will address the question, "Where do character education, moral formation, and catechesis come together for Catholic educators and parents?"  He will show how literature can be used to teach the virtues.

  •  School Days

    Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2010 12:30 PM

    As youngsters return to classrooms for the 2010-2011 school year, many will be learning through the Character-Based Literacy Curriculum, a product of the Markkula Center's Character Education program. 

    CBL, which integrates lessons about character into high school language arts, social studies, and science courses, is used by the offices of education in the majority of California counties, as well as in individual schools and districts across the state.

    Sample Lesson Plans