Clarifying Values-No Values
J. Allen Smith is considered by many to be one of the fathers of the many modern education reforms in this country. He recently commented on the following story
In Teneck N. J. a teacher asked for volunteers to share their experiences in honesty. He did this as part of an exercise dealing with “values clarification.” A girl in the class had found a purse containing $1000 and returned it to its owner. The teacher asked for the class’s reaction. Every single one of her fellow students concluded the girl had been “foolish.” Most of the students contended that if someone is careless, they should be punished.
What was most interesting, however, was what the teacher said when he was asked what he said to the students. He responded, “Well, of course, I didn’t say anything. If I come from the position of what is right and what is wrong, then I’m not their counselor. I can’t impose my views.”
That statement caused J. Allen Smith to conclude, “The trouble with us reformers is that we’ve made reform a crusade against all standards. Well, we’ve smashed them all, and now neither we nor anybody else have anything left.”