"The numbers are in and they don’t look good." that was the assessment of Josephson institute of Ethics last October, when they conducted a survey about the moral standards of more than 20.000 middle and high school students. Almost half the young people reported stealing something from a store in the previous 12 months. In the same period seven out of 10 cheated on an exam.
Should we be worried? Many observers say that we should. We see evidence of more antisocial behavior than ever among our youth – a sort of divorce between personal ethics and everyday behavior. Even among our most academically talented students, personal interest seems to triumph over the common good.
From across the political spectrum come calls to address the problem, as people from left, right, and center – however differently they may understand morality – recognize that building character is everyone's business. And, of course, in American society, whatever is everyone's business and involves children quickly leads us to the school.
The ideal that schools should produce people who are both smart and good has a venerable tradition in the United States. Most children in 19th century America learned their ABC's from the McGuffey Readers, which were replete with stories of honesty, self-reliance and courage. The reader's author, William H McGuffey, was a professor of moral philosophy at the University of Virginia. But by the early 20th century, schools were beginning to lose their comfort with such moral indoctrination. As America became a more pluralistic society, it was harder to come up with a shared notion of good behavior. Given the lack of agreement, moral education, it was argued, was best left to the individual child's family and religious institution. By the late 1970s character development had all but disappeared as a goal of American public schools.
by Steve Johnson
1) Circle the choice that best complete the statement.
a) The text is: a- narrative b- descriptive c- expository
b) The text is addressed to: a- authorities b- scholars c- general readers
2) Choose the most suitable title to the reading passage.
a- Ethical standards
b- Ethics in education
c- Scholars behaviour
2) Say whether the following statements are true or false according to the text and
correct the false ones .
a- the survey results were satisfactory.
b- A few numbers of students cheated on the exams.
d- Building character should be an individual interest.
e- American schools start neglecting about some moral beliefs
3) Find in the text words closest in meaning to:
Organize (1§) = neat (3§) =
4) Find in the text words opposites in meaning to:
Fear (4§) ≠ empty (4§) ≠
5) Find words in the text whose definitions follow.
a- the way that someone acts towards other people (2§)
b- Qualities and features that make a person, groups or places different from others ( 3§)
6) Filling the table with the missing word category.
verb Noun adjective adverb
7) Combine the sentences below using the appropriate connector.
Although – because – in order to - therefore
a- education was becoming more accessible. the region hadn’t witnessed the positive
b- Schools have become necessary partners. Parents should reinforce the
relationships with them.
C -families and religious institutions need help. Recognize and build individuals