The answer to both questions is "Yes." The problem with the term, "character education," is that it often is misconstrued to be synonymous with religious education, and fear arises that children will be indoctrinated with a religion. And yet, if we hear the phrase, "That individual is a man (or woman) of character," we would have little objection. In essence, that is what character education wants: to develop all children into people of character. The individual school or district through a committee representing all stakeholders, chooses which values are necessary to achieve that goal. Traditionally, the values most frequently chosen by schools have been: respect, responsibility, honesty, caring, empathy, civic-mindedness, and self-motivation. These are ethical not religious; what character education strives to do is to create a culture of integrity.
If we consider education is a preparation for life, then schools do have an obligation to teach values because we see quite clearly that the development of a values does not happen automatically. The last decade has been witness to acts of atrocity and inhumanity as well as to flagrant political and business dishonesty. Character education teaches children to use basic ethical qualities or values in everyday life; they learn to solve disputes peacefully, to exhibit caring for others, to treat others as they would like to be treated, and to value the lives and the property of others. It is evident that possessing these ethical qualities will add to the quality of life of the individual and of society. Knowing historical facts or solving intricate physics problems is useless unless the individual can get along with others.