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Thursday, June 11, 2015

An Eruption of Corruption

At what point do the public schools of New York redirect some of the valuable resources of instructional time, materials and curriculum currently expended in preparing learners for fill-in-the-bubble assessments (doing things right), and reallocate a portion to developing a moral compass of ethics and integrity (doing the right thing) for our learners?

Approximately thirty years ago an ivy league university accepted the realization that they were producing financial geniuses who graduated and then embraced insider trading schemes on Wall Street; and they were sending off aspiring legal scholars who chased the money and represented very questionable clients in very questionable practices; and they were preparing outstanding doctors who entered the profession without any sense of personal orientation on controversial issues like euthanasia, for instance.

In other words, they were not providing the conditions for these graduates to have or value a moral compass. I'm not advocating any particular side of an issue and neither was the university, but rather there is a need for individuals to have the wherewithal to develop and articulate their opinions and have a stance on important issues related to their profession, regardless of what side of a debate they represent. The university did not promote a particular orientation, but instead provided the means and conditions that would enable each individual to arrive at their own reference point.Those who pay for and receive services from their stock broker, lawyer, or doctor, for example, should understand the philosophy of their representative as a determining factor in selecting service providers.

As a result, the university reviewed their curricula and inserted classes on ethics to supplement their course of studies in the respective departments.

Here in the shadows of our state capital, Albany, we have been bombarded by the media with stories revealing a rampant crisis in ethics, or the lack thereof. The democratic leader of the state assembly and the republican leader of the state senate have both been separately charged in examples of a breach of ethics that is considered criminal. This is particularly noteworthy given that the state has largely been governed (at least in creating a state budget that drives the operation of the state) by what has routinely been referred to as "the three men in a room," of the Governor, the Assembly leader, and the Senate leader.

As a result, our state-wide politicians talk about ethics reform, but it's largely just boastful rhetoric that will likely end up being more cosmetic than transformational.

When do our political representatives (the same ones shaping education "reform") take a high stakes fill-in-the-bubble test on ethics to determine whether they are learning, and to what standard (ineffective, developing, effective, highly effective)? Will the results be published and available to the public? Will they have an improvement plan designed to assist their progress? Will they lose their position if they are ineffective for two years in a row?

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