A morally-informed citizenry starts in the schools, Tom Bloch believes.
Tom Bloch: I think it was Teddy Roosevelt who said, “To teach a child in mind but not in morals is to create a menace to society,” so I think today, our job in our schools is not just to make kids smart, but to make them good people. And there are so many corrosive aspects in our society that it becomes more important now than ever to make sure that our young people receive character education. I think this is particularly true in many areas where parents are not so involved in their kids’ education.
So many of my students, for example, live in a household with one parent, and that parent may hold two or three jobs, and have multiple children and financial challenges, and it’s just very difficult sometimes for that child to get exposed to good moral education. And so I think who is better to do this than our schools? So, in my classes, for example, I teach 7th- and 8th-grade math, but I spend a part of everyday talking about life skills. We talk about respect, and responsibility, and caring, compassion, things like that, and my students have come to expect a little bit of that from me everyday. And I think it’s important, and I always put a quote up on the board everyday that sort of supports whatever value or skill that we’re addressing.
Recorded on: October 13, 2008