Paula Mirk, IGE Director of Education
Feb. 27, 2012
-- ROCKPORT, Maine – In this month’s School Administrator magazine, Paula Mirk, director of education and the Ethical Literacy® Learning Community at the Institute for Global Ethics (IGE), offers school leaders advice on how to deal with a typical ethical dilemma faced by educators. Mirk is part of a national panel of experts, who provide guidance on ethical challenges confronting school leaders, through the publication’
s monthly column, the “Ethical Educator”.
The scenario posed in the publication’
s February issue describes a high school charity drive asking students to bring in money, food and clothing. Several teachers plan to offer bonus points on graded exercises and final averages as incentives to participate. Some parents, however, believe this sends the wrong message, undermining the value of charity as a selfless act. The ethical dilemma poses a right vs. right choice.
Applying parts of IGE’s conceptual frameworks for ethical decision making, Mirk urges administrators to treat this situation as an opportunity to help faculty and parents think together about the end goal: is it student learning or a successful campaign? Is there a way that everyone can support the point system? If not, is there another way to motivate students to participate?
Mirk suggests school officials can even use this situation to have discussions exploring the educational philosophy of the school district as a whole. (Mirk’s complete response can be found here.)
Besides Ms. Mirk, the Ethical Educator panel is composed of Shelley Berman, superintendent of schools (Eugene, Oregon), Joan McRobbie, senior associate for national school reform at CTAC (San Francisco), and Roy Dexheimer, retired BOCES superintendent (Ithaca, N.Y.).
School Administrator is the publication of the American Association of School Administrators (www.aasa.org)
whose 13,000 members include school leaders throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The IGE’s Ethical Literacy Learning Community provides school community members with tools and processes to build and maintain a culture of integrity based on shared values, ethical decision-making, and research about balancing attention to academic rigor with attention to the ethical development of young people. For more information, please visit www.ethical-
literacy.org or call +1-207-542-1546.
About the IGE
Founded in 1990, with offices in Rockport, Maine, New York City and London, the Institute for Global Ethics (www.globalethics.org)
is an independent, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethical action in a global context. IGE’s challenge is to explore the global common ground of values, elevate awareness of ethics, provide practical tools for making ethical decisions, and encourage practical action based on those decisions.