Of Note: Robbing Them of What Counts


Turning the Tide II: How Parents and High Schools Can Cultivate Ethical Character and Reduce Distress in The College Admissions Process by Richard Weissbourd with Trisha Ross Anderson, Brennan Barnard, Alison Cashin, and Alexis Dikowsky
March 1, 2019

This report from the Harvard Graduate School of Education predates but seems to eerily predict the current "College Admissions Scandal." It focuses on the critical role of high schools and parents in supporting teens in developing core ethical capacities, including a sense of responsibility for others and their communities, and reducing achievement-related stress. An excerpt: "[Colleges], parents, and high schools powerfully shape the admissions process. But an intense focus on academic achievement has squeezed out serious attention to ethical character both in a large majority of high schools and a large number of families. Many parents -- particularly, middle- and upper-income parents -- seeking coveted spots for their children in elite colleges are failing to focus on what really matters in this process. In an effort to give their kids everything, these parents often end up robbing them of what counts." The report suggests a series of productive steps that colleges, high schools, and parents can take to reverse this trend. The admissions process can, in fact, provide an opportunity to promote ethical education and to help students focus on authentic contributions to society. Many independent schools focus on core values and character development already, but this report, coupled with recent events in the world of college admissions, give us much to think about and more to do.

Submitted By: Christopher Lauricella, The Albany Academies, Albany, NY

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