ETHICAL ISSUES: EDUCATION
ETHICS IN EDUCATION
There is no field more demanding of applied ethics than education. The basis of ethics being truth, teaching requires ethical practitioners perhaps more than any other calling.
From the outset (pre-school), students must be taught only that which is true; that which is not or may not be true must be presented in that light. The formative years require a sound ethical foundation on which to build future knowledge–there is little if any wiggle room here. Teachers must hew to the truth doggedly, generally sticking with subjects that are not debatable. The personal agendas of teachers have no place in the classroom. Language, math, history and science must stick to the facts. Rewriting history, for instance, cannot be tolerated.
Educators are responsible for growing students who will be assets to society; therefore, they must be ethical to a fault. Professionals are responsible first to themselves, then to their profession. Anything or anyone subtracting from that profession is unsuitable.
Professionals accept the responsibility for managing themselves and are accountable to society directly. Teachers beholden to unions for their positions and teaching qualifications may not be of professional quality. Regardless, union card-carrying teachers must be held to the same standards as are professional teachers who deal with school boards directly. This ought to be automatic, but it is not. They sign over some portion of responsibility to their unions and, so long as they are not flagrant in their transgressions, they maintain safe haven. Students may and do suffer from this approach.
Most professions hew to a strict code of ethics, not a list of suggested behaviors. Additionally, they have rules of practice that ensure their clients (and employers) of receiving the best that the individual can give. Professionals monitor their profession, reporting any issues that may have an adverse effect on it, and endeavor to improve it at any opportunity. This attitude can only have a beneficial effect on students. They learn to be ethical by example.
Examples of unethical teaching at the college/postgraduate levels can be found elsewhere on this site: Ethics Info. They are truly unbelievable.