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Arkansas State University

What Is Ethics and How Does It Influence Educational Leadership?

Every person has a set of morals that guides their behavior and decision-making. We often refer to this code as ethics, particularly when discussing institutions or activities, which often have their own codes of ethics.

Education is no different. If anything, a code of ethics that is moral, respectful and equitable since all are fundamental parts of any strong educational environment. Ethics in education is not simply about right or wrong but also about honoring the needs of students and the promise to offer a quality education for everyone. This kind of support can come in many forms.

In the online Master of Science in Education (MSE) in Educational Leadership program from Arkansas State University (A-State), graduates will encounter a variety of courses to prepare them for the different scenarios and nuances of being an ethical educational leader.

In its code of ethics, the School Superintendents Association (AASA) notes that “the educational leader provides professional leadership across the district and also across the community.” That means they are in a unique position as leaders, with their actions “viewed and appraised by the community, professional associates and students.”

Such a responsibility requires educational leaders to set the tone with exemplary behavior, from creating an equitable environment for students to modeling appropriate and collaborative conduct and practices.

Educational leaders should keep in mind some of these ethical values and strategies via the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) guiding principles and AASA’s code of ethics:

Make Decisions Based on the Education and Welfare of Students

Above all, education is about serving students. To that end, their knowledge, safety and well-being should ultimately guide any decisions affecting them. This idea also applies to creating an inclusive and beneficial atmosphere for students of all identities.

Striving to make all students feel comfortable and ensuring their access to a constructive educational environment is critical to the well-being of students. The Ethical Leadership course in A-State’s online MSE in Educational Leadership program teaches students the tools to enact ethical and professional leadership strategies in diverse educational settings.

Be Honest, Trustworthy and Accountable

Just as educational leaders are rule makers, they must be responsible and accountable if they want other community members to abide by the rules. Setting a solid example and always treating colleagues and students with respect and trust will help set the right tone. The program’s Philosophies of Education course offers an in-depth look at different educational philosophies, emphasizing how they affect educational theory and practice.

Ensure Laws, Policies and Regulations Meet Student Well-Being and Education Standards

Nothing is a one-size-fits-all solution, and educational leaders perhaps know this better than anyone. Instead, leaders should prepare to combine their discretion with ethical principles on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of different situations.

For example, the School Law course raises awareness of provisions and court decisions concerning the legal facets of education, ensuring graduates instill educational practices that adhere to legal and ethical frameworks and support policies in the best interest of the students, school and community.

Learn more about A-State’s online MSE in Educational Leadership program.

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