To Succeed, Students Might Need to Fail First

School administrators wrestle with how to teach character
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 15, 2011 3:45 PM CDT
Heads of two New York City schools are exploring how to teach character.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Traditional measures of success in high school—GPAs, standardized-test scores—aren’t always good predictors of a successful future. That’s why the heads of two very different schools in New York City are searching for a way to mix character into the education equation. In a lengthy New York Times Magazine feature, Paul Tough examines each administrator’s approaches. While one has instituted a Character Point Average report card, the other wants his affluent students to experience failure on the road to success.

“The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure,” says Dominic Randolph, principal of a top private school in the Bronx. Trouble is, “in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.” Many of these kids are overly protected by their parents and schools, he contends. But it’s a case that’s not easy to make when parents, who pay more than $38,000 a year in tuition, are essentially your “employers.” Click through for the full tale of two schools.

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