Wendy Bradshaw, in a photo from her Facebook profile
It’s sad but true: In October, a veteran teacher in Florida resigned because the conditions under which she was required to work did not support best practice. Despite her love of teaching and her “highly effective” ratings in evaluations, Wendy Bradshaw was trapped in an untenable position because she was required to deploy practices that were developmentally inappropriate for her young students.
Based on her extensive training in human growth and development, this highly credentialed professional with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees would not persist in activities that she knew to be harmful to her students. “Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it,” she writes in her resignation letter. “However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process.”
A new ethics framework from the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) aims to guide PK-12 educators in their decision making—and assist their preparation programs in nurturing their ability to make ethical decisions. NASDTEC unveiled the Model Code of Ethics for Educators at a press conference June 25 in Washington, DC.
The code was developed over the past year in a joint effort with Educational Testing Service, the University of Phoenix, and the National Association of State Teachers of the Year. Once the draft was ready, a public comment period last winter provided feedback before the language was finalized. NASDTEC considers the result to be a fluid document that will continue to adjust to conditions in the field. Its board even created a new National Council for the Advancement of Educator Ethics to oversee modifications to the framework on an ongoing basis, and comments are still welcome on the document.
The model standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), developed in 1996 by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and last revised in 2008, generated controversy in the field during their most recent revision effort last fall and this spring. The National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA), which convenes an array of stakeholder groups, is partnering with CCSSO to consider the feedback received from the field and make final adjustments to the new standards, now planned for release this fall.
NPBEA was among the groups that approved the original standards nearly 20 years ago and has been involved to some degree in subsequent revisions. Its constituent organizations* all have close connections to the work addressed in the standards, but some of these constituents felt their voices were not heard in the recent standards update.
A new effort by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) will attempt to develop a national framework for PK-12 educator ethics.
Beginning with a meeting June 19-21 in Maryland, the Model Code of Educator Ethics Task Force will review existing codes of ethics over the coming year and draft a consensus document that could be adopted by states, which currently have varying guidelines in place. A public review period is planned before the model code is finalized in summer 2015.