A descriptive analysis of the codes of ethics for educators
Banter, Ken Allen
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As organizations evolve and begin to seek more prestige and status with their clientele and society as a whole, they begin the process known as professionalization. This process encourages these organizations to acquire those identifiable characteristics, which were achieved in the professions such as medicine and law. Hart and Marshall (1992) summarized the fundamental characteristics of a profession into five specific criteria. This study examined only two of the five criteria: (a) an established code of ethics for them members of the organization, and (b) how the organization policed itself when the code was violated. The institution of education was one such group that has aspired the status of a true profession. Therefore, the problem of this study was to research what each state has done in developing and enforcing a code of ethics for its educators. However, since no single code of ethics exists which embodies the entire education profession, a more in-depth study was undertaken. Specifically, the two main objectives of this study were to examine (a) what each state has done in developing a code of ethics for it’s educators, and (b) the work the governing board/commission charged with enforcing the code and standards within each state. A qualitative research design was employed for this study, and written documents produced by states’ educational bodies or legislatures were the primary sources of data. Each state was contacted by Internet, e-mail, telephone, or mail to acquire the necessary data to answer this study’s research questions. The data collected included mainly brochures, state statutes, or downloaded version of these documents. The data provided the evidence to conclude that 23 states have enacted codes of ethics for their educators. The names of these codes and the rules or standards contained with the codes vary, but many similarities were found too. The data also supported that each state has established grounds for which an educator’s certificate could be denied, suspended, or revoked. Each state has also designated an entity to give the educator due process in enforcing the code of ethics or when grounds exist for probable cause.