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K-12 Code of Ethics

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[The following Code of Ethics for K-12 teachers forbids teachers from using their classrooms for political, ideological, or religious advocacy. Teachers in violation of the Code would be subject to penalties such as probation, suspension and loss of their teaching licenses.]

Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility For Educators in K-12 Public Schools

Whereas the purpose of public education in America is to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process;

Whereas education in a democracy is best served by teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think;

Whereas our country is divided over many issues affecting its citizens;

Whereas it has been established through surveys that a majority of K-12 teachers discuss controversial issues in their classrooms;[1]

Whereas it has been established that some teacher training institutions, teacher licensing agencies, state education departments and professional teacher organizations have condoned and even encouraged this behavior under the guise of “teaching for social justice” and other sectarian doctrines;[2]

Whereas time spent on political or ideological indoctrination takes time away from instruction in the academic subjects taught by public educational institutions including the foundational subjects of mathematics, science, English, history, and civics and prevents students from receiving the best possible public education as funded by the taxpayers of this state;

Whereas parents and taxpayers have a right to expect that taxpayer resources will be spent on education, not political or ideological indoctrination;

Therefore be it resolved that this state’s [board of education or other relevant regulating body] will promulgate clear regulations and enforcement mechanisms for appropriate professional and ethical behavior by teachers licensed to teach in this state; that these guidelines shall make it clear that teachers in taxpayer supported schools are forbidden to use their classrooms to try to engage in political, ideological, or religious advocacy.

At a minimum, these regulations shall provide that no teacher is permitted during class time or while otherwise operating within the scope of employment as a teacher in a public educational institution to do the following:

(1) Endorse, support, or oppose any candidate or nominee for public office or any elected or appointed official regardless of whether such official is a member of the local, state, or federal government;

(2) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or enacted legislation or regulation regardless whether such legislation or regulation is pending, proposed, or has been enacted at the local, state, or federal level;

(3) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or decided court case or judicial action regardless of whether such court case or judicial action is at the local, state, or federal level;

(4) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or executed executive action by an executive branch agency of the local, state, or federal level;

(5) Introduce into class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught;

(6) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the lawful access of military recruiters to campus;

(7) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the actions of state, local, or federal law enforcement;

(8) Advocate in a partisan manner for any side of a controversial issue, defined as an issue that is a point in electoral party platforms at the national, state or local level. To ensure that students have the resources to make up their own minds on such issues, teachers must provide them with materials supporting both sides of the controversy, and present those views in a fair-minded non-partisan manner. Teachers may express their opinions on these matters but only in such a manner that students understand that they are free to make up their own minds and to disagree with the teacher without incurring any penalty for doing so.

(9) Segregate students according to race, or single out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students.

The regulations promulgated pursuant to this act shall apply to all teachers at public educational institutions, tenured and non-tenured. Moreover, the regulations shall contain clear guidelines for enforcement and provide penalties for violations, up to and including termination. The state’s [board of education or other relevant regulating body] shall provide written notification to all teachers, parents, and students of their respective rights and responsibilities under the regulations promulgated pursuant to this act and shall provide at least three hours of annual continuing teacher education instruction to teachers to instruct them regarding their responsibilities under said regulations.

Moreover, we call on the state’s professional teacher organizations and unions to voluntarily adopt an educators’ code of ethics and professional responsibility that incorporates the above principles and specifically prohibits teachers in K-12 schools from using the classroom for political indoctrination.

[1] http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/04/05/survey-national-politics-causing-classroom-divisions.html

[2] Columbia Teachers College, Academic Catalog: Teacher Education (2010) refers to its teaching candidates as “advocates of social justice.”

 

[Original Source]

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Nate C.

Nate C.

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Nate Covington (about me)
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