The Worldview Agenda Behind Values Clarification Courses

By Brannon S. Howse

Situational ethics and values clarification courses come with many titles: Quest, Pumsey’s Program, and Finding My Way, to name a few. Whatever the name, though, all share a common goal. Each derives from the intentions of humanists as outlined in the Humanist Manifestos. Consider these selections from the Humanist Manifesto II:


• “We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experiences. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest. To deny this distorts the whole basis of life. Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures.”


• “Happiness and the creative realization of human needs and desires, individually and in shared enjoyment, are continuous themes of humanism. We strive for the good life, here and now.”


• “While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”


• “Individuals should be encouraged to realize their own creative talents and desires. We reject all religious, ideological, or moral codes that denigrate the individual, suppress freedom….”


• “The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered evil.”  


In step with such philosophy, Sidney Simon and Louis E. Raths, clarify the goal of their book, Values Clarification: 

"To involve students in practical experiences making them aware of their own feelings, their own ideas, their own beliefs, so that the choices and decisions they make are conscious and deliberate, based on their own value system."


And how does this thinking affect parent-child relationships? Richard A. Baer, Jr., in a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Parents, Schools, and Values Clarification,” explains: 


"The originators of values clarification simply assume that their own subjective theory of values is correct.…If parents object to their children using pot or engaging in premarital sex, the theory behind values clarification makes it appropriate for the child to respond, “But that’s just your value judgment. Don’t force it on me.”


As long ago as 1988, the U.S. Department of Education, under Ronald Reagan, released a warning about values clarification courses:


[quote] Curricula that emphasizes open-ended decision making about using dangerous substances should likewise be rejected. Many curricula marketed are based on the controversial “values clarification” approach to teaching students decision-making skills and ethical standards. Values Clarification is a strategy that avoids leading the students to any particular conclusion, relying instead upon the child’s inner feelings and logic to develop a set of values that are consistent with those embraced by the culture at large. [end quote]


Studies have shown that values clarification courses masquerade as drug and alcohol prevention programs while actually enticing kids to drink and experiment with drugs. After weeks and months of discussing how to use drugs, how they make you feel, and how to get them, a student’s natural curiosity is raised dramatically. And since the studies draw no conclusion about what is right or wrong, there is no incentive for kids not to experiment with drugs and alcohol. 

Professor William R. Coulson, a one-time promoter of values clarification courses, spent many years warning parents about the dangers of the courses he once helped develop. Professor Coulson reports:


[quote] When I visited the Skills for Adolescence classroom in San Diego, there was a lot of talk about “I feel” statements. There is no way to explain but to say that students were practicing turning morality into reports of feelings. Although Skills for Adolescence is sold explicitly as drug education, there was not talk of drugs in the session I observed, and I was told that, by design, there would be none until the last three weeks of the course. Even then the focus would be on subjectivity and “decision making. [end quote]


Unfortunately, American parents have been intimated by liberal educational elitists who portray themselves as the  “experts.” As a result, they often remain silent and leave educational policy up to these specialists who argue that they have the training and experience to know what children really need.

The shocking attitude of a former Arizona superintendent of public instruction, Carolyn Warner, characterizes the position of liberal educational leaders: 

"Those who educate are more to be honored than those who bear the children. The latter gave them only life, the former teach them the art of living."


“The art of living,” according to the humanistic, liberal educrat, is to reject God and to embrace the worldview of Secular Humanism. The undermining of parental authority is all too common among humanist educators who see conservative parents, traditional values, and the Christian worldview as an obstacle to the successful brainwashing of America’s children.

Dr. Raymond English, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in a speech to the National Advisory Council on Education, Research and Improvement, revealed the dark side of the education establishment:

"Critical thinking means not only learning how to think for oneself, but it also means learning how to subvert the traditional values in your society. You’re not thinking critically if you’re accepting the values that mommy and daddy taught you. That’s not critical."


Copyright 2006 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative. Banner