Turning the Tide II makes the case that an intense focus on academic achievement has squeezed out serious attention to ethical character in many high schools and families, especially in middle- and upper-income communities. With a narrow focus on high achievement and admission to selective colleges, parents in these communities often fail to help their teens develop the critical cognitive, social, and ethical capacities that are at the heart of both doing good and doing well in college and beyond. Many parents also fail to be ethical role models to their children by allowing a range of transgressions—from exaggerating achievements to outright cheating—in the admissions process.
Often following parents’ lead, many high schools in middle- and upper-income communities tend to focus too rigidly on highly selective colleges, don’t adequately nurture students’ interests and curiosity, and do little to challenge parents engaging in ethically troubling behavior.
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