Core ethical values are positive, universal qualities (e.g.
respect, responsibility, caring, civic-mindedness, etc.)
that help students develop into productive, moral beings.
Different schools and districts call them by different names,
such as virtues, character traits, principles, life skills, and
ethics of caring. The Character Education Partnership (CEP)
provides eight characteristics of core values that can serve as
the litmus test:
(1) universally valid
(2) ethical in nature
(3) supportive of democracy
(4) benefit every individual
(5) educationally significant
(6) promote good relationships
(7) encourage good decision-making and
(8) significant, not trivial.
Before your school or district begins your character education journey, you should gather a representative group of teachers, administrators, parents, community members and students (depending on the age) to decide on which core values are most meaningful to you. Then wrap your character education program around them.