An effort to inject character education into Iowa schools and communities is seeing a groundswell of support. Scott Raecker, executive director of the Institute for Character Development, says the initiative has grown with huge bounds in the past three years.He says the pilot initiative was launched in one school in 1997. It’s now in more than 130 Iowa schools and 45 communities statewide. Raecker says the project is growing as people realize the importance of character development, both for kids and adults.Raecker says people need to be able to discern between right and wrong. The Institute for Character Development is an outgrowth of the Iowa Sesquicentennial Legacy 150 Commission, which was formed to take advantage of the positive momentum of the state’s 150th birthday celebration.The Institute is based at Drake University in Des Moines. The Character Counts model is based upon six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Raecker says it takes a concerted effort by parents, families, schools, churches and the community.
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