Text Box: As developed by the University of San Diego - International Center for Character Education

We propose these six standards for teachers:

STANDARD 1: New and experienced teachers need to practice and reflect on their role as character educators responsible for the character formation of all students.

STANDARD 2: Teachers need to understand their roles and responsibilities as value transmitters, value critics and role models, and communicate high expectations for all students regarding pro-social behaviors, character development, and democratic values. They should strive, along with students, to eliminate behaviors that are antithetical to good character.

STANDARD 3: Teachers must help create school and classroom climates that emulate mutual respect and support the tenets of a community of learners (e.g., caring, cooperative, civil).

STANDARD 4: Teachers need to engage all students in ethical analysis, critical inquiry, and higher-order thinking skills as they pursue ethical dilemmas found in literature, history, media, and life.

STANDARD 5: Teachers need to work with colleagues, students, parents and community groups to develop character lessons that will provide positive value experiences as a part of the schools' curricular and co-curricular programs.

STANDARD 6: Understand that parents are their children's primary character educators. Knowing that the community, peer groups, and the media have a major influence on the character development of the young, teachers need to form collaborative partnerships between home, school and the community that welcome and involve others in character development efforts.

Adapted from: DeRoche, EF (winter 1999) "Character Education: A One-Act Play," ACTION in Teacher Education. Virginia: Association of Teacher Educators.

A Professional Code of Ethics for Teacher Educators:
A Proposal to Stimulate Discussion and Debate

David J. Freitas
National-Louis University

Teacher education is one of the few professions without a professional code of ethics. The author proposes a code specifically designed for teacher educators. The proposal is intended to stimulate discussion with the eventual goal of adoption by teacher educators throughout the nation.

One of the cornerstones of a true profession is a code of ethics. The code publicly articulates and affirms the profession's core values, beliefs and responsibilities. None, however, exists in teacher education.

Virtually all professions, including law, medicine, and finance, have adopted codes of ethics. While some codes were adopted decades ago, a recent proliferation is evident in the business community. Companies with codes jumped from 13% to 73% since 1994 (Los Angeles Times, 1997). Of the Fortune 500 companies, 95% have codes (Khalfani, 1996) to clearly communicate their philosophy and expectations.

Codes of ethics are also common among other educators and educational organizations. These include the National Educational Association, Council for Exceptional Children, National Association of Secondary School Principals, American Association of School Personnel Administrators, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Catholic Educational Association, American School Counselors Association, National Board of Certified Counselors, Association of School Business Officials, National School Board Association and the American Association of School Administrators. Ironically, those who prepare aspiring educational leaders and future members of these organizations lack their own professional code.

The proposed Professional Code of Ethics for Teacher Educators is intended to stimulate broad-based consideration, evolutionary revisions, and ultimately, an adopted code. The proposal consists of a preamble and three principles with accompanying commitments and responsibilities.

As with all well-established professional codes, it offers broadly applicable guidance. Yet, it includes substantively specific rubrics for ethical decision-making. Those seeking mindless prescriptions of exactly what to do in all cases will be disappointed. The Code provides a conceptual framework to assess contemplated action, not the definitive answer. Thus, applying the code to specific situations essentially rests with each individual. However, the foundation for all decisions is consistent throughout the profession.


A Proposal to Stimulate Discussion and Debate


This Code serves as the foundation for all educators who prepare aspiring teachers, school administrators and educational support personnel. It publicly affirms the profession's core values, commitments and responsibilities. At the heart of the Code is the fundamental commitment to pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students. Their education and well being are paramount in all professional decisions and actions. Teacher educators unequivocally agree to adhere to this Code and the highest professional standards.

Principle I

Commitment to Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 Students

Principle II

Commitment To Aspiring Educators

Principle III

Commitment To The Profession