The Character Education Partnership (CEP) is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Josephson will speak at its 20th National Forum on Character Education, to be held Oct. 24-27, at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“Michael has been a leader in the field of character education for two decades now, and his efforts have introduced millions of young people worldwide to the concepts of ethics and character” said Mark Hyatt, President & CEO of the Character Education Partnership. “We are honored to have him anchor our conference as its final keynote speaker. We know he will send our attendees away energized and inspired.”
Josephson is one of the pioneer leaders of the modern character education movement. He resigned his tenure as a law professor in 1987 to found the Los Angeles-based Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics in honor of his parents. He has served as CEO of the organization at no compensation since that time.
The Institute provides character development and ethical culture strategies and services in the fields of business, police, public service and sports ethics as well as is the parent of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition and Character Counts!, which advocates for character education in K-12 schools from coast to coast. Every two years, Josephson Institute conducts a comprehensive survey of high school students across the country. This survey, called the Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, measures their self-reported values, attitudes, and behavior.
Based in Los Angeles CA, Josephson may be best known for his creation of The Six Pillars of Character, which promotes “trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.” The familiar, multi-colored pillars adorn banners and posters on hundreds, if not thousands, of elementary and secondary school walls, all across the U.S.
Scheduled to present on “Character Education and Beyond,” Josephson appreciates the importance of the last speaking slot, which will be at 4:30 pm. on Saturday, Oct. 26. He plans to take the opportunity to engage the audience, gauge what they have learned from the Forum, and then to light a fire under them. The aim is to fan the flames and encourage attendees enthusiastically and strategically to go back to their schools as impassioned leaders ready and raring to strengthen, expand and promote character education to colleagues, parents and their entire communities.
“This is a time of great risk and great opportunity,” Josephson said. “There is a risk that character education will be marginalized in an educational environment dominated by mandates and demands concerning the Common Core, 21st century work skills and guaranteeing the emotional and physical safety of students. But, if we are willing to adapt and innovate, this can be our greatest opportunity to build the teaching and modeling of good character into the DNA of every school. This is a time when we must come together to share, learn and collaborate.”
Both Character Counts and CEP are celebrating 20-year milestones this year. Both organizations are based on the Aspen Declaration, a document drafted and signed in 1992 by 30 experts in education and youth development. Josephson was one of the 30 original signers as were several founders of CEP, notably Tom Lickona and Eric Schaps, two authors of CEP’s framework, the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education.
The 20th National Forum is a perfect opportunity for the two groups to come together to promote the need for effective character education.
“With all the focus on improving test scores, it sometimes gets lost that academics and character are not an either-or proposition,” Hyatt said. “Our schools need and deserve both. I encourage all schools to send a team to our conference. I know they will go home inspired and with a wealth of best practices and strategies that can be implemented immediately.”
Character Education Partnership (character.org) is a national advocate and leader for the character education movement. Based in Washington, DC, CEP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian coalition of organizations and individuals committed to fostering effective character education in our nation’s schools. CEP provides the vision, leadership and resources for school, families and communities to develop ethical citizens committed to building a just and caring world. For more information about State and National Schools of Character and how schools can improve through high-quality character education, please visit the CEP website.