Character study? the gritty truth

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Educators from an Upper East Side private school and a KIPP charter school in New York City are singing the praises of recent findings in character education. Paul Tough's article in the New York Times explores how these two schools, serving vastly different populations, have both realized that "...character is as important as intellect..." in paving the way to a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Among the many traits which character education encompasses, the most noteworthy appears to be determination, or grit. In the KIPP community, determination was the missing ingredient when high school graduates who had clearly beaten the odds academically couldn't maintain the momentum in college and dropped out in the first year. At the affluent private school, students were so protected by their parents that they never faced true failure, and were thus ill-equipped for the hardships life invariably serves up.

Helping students learn to beat failure with perseverance sounds like a winning strategy across all demographics. 

Susan Douglas