Iowa Chapter Implements Initiative: Navigating Professional Risks

The Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) is engaged in an initiative to bring the Model Code of Ethics for Educators (MCEE) to Iowa’s teacher preparation programs. Educators have the responsibility to ensure a safe environment and support the well-being of each and every child. The MCEE was designed as a framework to inform the decision-making process that educators can use to guide them through the gray areas of the profession based on five guiding principles. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) began developing MCEE in 2012 and adopted it in 2015. The MCEE is designed to protect the rights of students and support educators’ commitment to the profession.

There are five principles of responsibility identified in the MCEE:

  1. Responsibility to the profession
  2. Responsibility for professional competence
  3. Responsibility to students
  4. Responsibility to parents/guardians, colleagues, the community and employers
  5. Responsible and ethical use of technology

The IACTE membership participated in a professional learning workshop at the 2018 IACTE Spring Conference where Troy Hutchings facilitated an interactive workshop, “Educator Ethics: Embrace the Gray,” with the conference participants. Representatives from IACTE’s educational partners—Iowa State Education Association, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, and School Administrators of Iowa—joined the workshop.

Feedback from IACTE members identified a growing interest in additional professional learning opportunities and resources to bring the MCEE to preservice teacher preparation programs. The IACTE executive board received a grant from AACTE to respond to the request from the membership. 

The IACTE/AACTE Grant included three main goals: 

  1. Develop resources that teacher preparation programs (TPP) could utilize to bring the MCEE to the preservice program
  2. Provide additional professional learning opportunities for the TPPs
  3. Collaborate with our educational partners in the activities of the grant

Under the leadership of IACTE, a work group was established that includes representatives from eleven teacher preparation programs, Iowa State Education Association, Iowa Department of Education, and the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. Hutchings serves as a consultant for the resources developed by the work groups. Several documents have been developed to support the work of our teacher educator programs. These resources include handouts that communicate the distinction between a model code of ethics and a code of conduct, rationale for implementing the MCEE, tools for programs to utilize when mapping the progressions of the MCEE principles within a TPP, and sample scenarios to use in professional learning workshops. 

The IACTE/AACTE grant work group will continue to revise and develop resources to support the integration of the MCEE as a framework for professionals to assess the level of ongoing risk in the profession. This ongoing work will be shared at the IACTE 2019 Fall Conference titled “MCEE and Navigating Professional Risks.”    

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Nadene Davidson

University of Northern Iowa