Ethics are an abstract concept that can be defined in many ways based upon ones perspective. One of the goals of public education is to develop the students’ sense of morality in order to help them to become good citizens
who will make positive contributions to our society. Ethics is “the study of underlying beliefs and assumptions, principles and values, that support a moral way of life”, educators and students need responsibility, authenticity, and presence in order to create a productive and authentic learning environment; without these virtues, schools will not succeed in their mission to prepare their students to be moral and just leaders. Theodore Sizer defines ethics as “consideration for one’s fellow human beings” that requires all members of a community to “think about their actions, personal and collective” in order to ensure an ethical learning community. Justice is based
upon a “false universalism” that assumes that all persons have the same desires and needs as the ruling class,” whereas caring allows for educators to meet the unique needs of each learner. Ethics must be part of the curriculum for public school students.
Ethical leaders serve as role models for the students, teachers, and administrators in their school or district. They also create opportunities for students and faculty to reflect on ethics in order to clarify their understanding of right and wrong.
Ethical leaders share certain values. They value their students as individuals. Students must feel “a sense that there is something” they “can which is valued” by peers and authority figures. Unless students respect themselves and feel comfortable with whom they are, they will be unable to respect others and to accept those who are different from them. Educators are faced with the unique challenge of balancing fairness for all students and caring for each student. Teachers and administrators must value every member of the learning community; teachers must care for all students but balance the needs of one student with the equal treatment of all students.