`common core` to succeed, character education

Press Contact: Rebecca Sipos
Director of Communications
(202) 296-7743 ext. 20
White paper extols the virtues in implementing new standards
September 13, 2013, Washington, DC – The Character Education Partnership (CEP) is pleased to announce the
timely publication of an important new white paper that will help school districts nationwide to implement most
effectively the new Common Core State Standards in K-12 education. Entitled Integrating Common Core and
Character Education: Why It Is Essential and How It Can Be Done, the paper is co-authored by CEP Advisory
Council members Kristin Fink, executive director of the Utah Coalition for Civic, Character and Service
Learning, and Dr. Karen Geller, principal of Upper Merion Area Middle School in King of Prussia PA, and an
associate professor at Immaculata University, also in Pennsylvania.
“The Common Core needs a vessel or a container to hold the knowledge and skill standards in order to move
them forward,” says Charles Elbot, another CEP Advisory Council member and director of intentional school
culture at Denver Public Schools. “The best vessel is the school or school district that models ethical and
performance character principles for students and adults, creating a culture of respect, responsibility and
excellence in which all can thrive.”
Through an examination of case studies and best practices, Fink and Geller contend that “by embedding positive
school culture and intentionally integrating pro-social education and character throughout instruction, the
Common Core Standards will be strengthened and supported.” Since the new standards will raise the level of
cognitive rigor and require young people to develop more stamina, discipline and grit to handle more challenging
work, the authors say extra attention must be paid to building character: “Common core supported by
comprehensive, high quality, social-emotional learning and character education is better than just Common Core.”
With so many states adopting Common Core this fall, it may seem overwhelming for schools and teachers to
consider "adding" anything else to their plates. But character education is not just an add-on. “Far from it,” says
Mark Hyatt, CEP President & CEO. “As this paper concludes, we believe character education offers the best path
for Common Core’s ultimate success. In fact, with all the related hand-wringing and hair-pulling now under way
nationally, we also think it would have a calming effect.”
Still, it is K-12 students who stand the most to gain. As Fink and Geller write, “The goal is to be not only collegeand career-ready, but also ready for the tests of life, and not [just] a life of tests.”
To download the new white paper, go to…
Character Education Partnership 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 schools, 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, visit www.character.org.