I examine the search for a “tie that binds, “ or “core” values, in liberal political theory, specifically Rawls's recent arguments, and in proposals concerning moral education in the public schools. Both Rawls and the proponents of moral education appeal to consensus or shared values, but the search for core values in both theory and practice is only partly successful. Specifically, this search is misguided insofar as it does not reflect how values are embedded in specific institutions and practices. The various forms of moral education in the public schools, both implicit and explicit, illustrate a consensus about a range of moral and intellectual virtues that is broader and more complex than arguments for core values allow. Comparing arguments concerning core values in political theory and moral education suggests how liberal political theory might deal with questions of consensus, justification, and the task of political theory generally.