Schools face numerous ethical issues everyday. While some might be more difficult to see, such as poor curriculum choices, others are more obvious, such as cheating. Sometimes, the sheer number of students and work load may make teachers less than willing to risk their jobs to tackle ethical issues.
1. Social And Ethnic Issues
Social and ethnic differences are often ignored in public schools, possibly leaving some students behind. For instance, a child from a poor background might be malnourished and have issues at home that prevent them from doing homework. The child is punished at school versus having an alternative presented.
2. Cheating And Assisted Cheating
Cheating has always been an ethical issue plaguing schools. It’s often difficult to uncover in the best of circumstances, but large classroom sizes in public schools make this worse. In addition to standard cheating, assisted cheating is also becoming a major ethical problem. Teachers may “assist” students who are struggling in order to boost a classroom or school’s overall scores to increase funding. Performance isn’t the way to offer funding and it’s hurting the ethics of public schools.
Bullying affects all schools. However, public school teachers and counselors often ignore the signs or brush it off when students report something. They’d prefer to stay out of moral and ethical issues as much as possible to avoid any public complaints from parents. However, it’s the moral obligation of adults and students to report and stop bullying whenever possible to avoid escalation.
4. Assessment Problems
Assessments should always be graded ethically. Teachers may give a student extra points to ensure they pass. Or, they may even grade lower at times to provide a better curve for all students. However, any type of false grading is unethical. It doesn’t help the teacher, student, school or even society. Assessments should be used to determine if a student fully understands the concepts or needs additional help. Unethical grading prevents students from getting the help they need.
5. Preferential Treatment
It’s far too common for teachers, principals and school administrators to show preferential treatment. Teachers may grade one student harshly while letting another slide simply because they like them better. A principal wanting more money for boosters might show star athletes preferential treatment in order to keep parents donating. They might also suggest teachers give them better grades so they can keep playing.
No matter what the reason, preferential treatment is never ethical. This shows students they don’t have to work hard in life. At the same time, this happens with staff as well. Some teachers may be shown preferential treatment and get away with unethical behavior simply because of tenure or they went to a certain university.
While there are many ethical issues in schools, all of these issues are teaching opportunities to improve ethics in students to create a more ethical society.