Changing concerns and ideological shifts in American society produce different emphases in moral education. We argue that different approaches address different dimensions of development. If viewed as complementary rather than contradictory, we may be able to move beyond ideological and philosophical disputes to solid theory-building based on empirical findings. In proposing an action program for moral education that incorporates research, we draw upon lessons learned from the Head Start movement of the 1960s. In defining researchable variables, we recommend the Four Component Model (sensitivity, judgment, motivation, character) instead of the usual tripartite model (thinking, feeling, acting).