The content and boundaries of moral education the state may require schools to offer is a matter of contention. This article investigates whether the state may obligate schools to promote the pursuit of moral ideals. Moral ideals refer to (a cluster of) characteristics of a person as well as to situations or states that are believed to be morally excellent or perfect and that are not yet realised. Having an ideal typically means that the person is dedicated to realising the type of situation or person to which the ideal refers. Therefore generating student enthusiasm for moral ideals may be an effective way to realise a morally excellent society. This article defends the position that schools may be required to promote the recognition of ideals that all reasonable citizens endorse. Reasonable citizens will not, however, accept that the state obligates schools to promote the pursuit of moral ideals. © 2013 Copyright Journal of Moral Education Ltd.