Mahatma Gandhi is the wise soul who said that “You must be the change you wish to see.” And so it is with ethics.
Though it’s easy to lament the general decline in ethics with a sense of futility or to notice other people’s ethical shortcomings without our own self-reflection, the truth is that much can be done about the ethics climate – and it starts with each of us.
By our example and actions, we either contribute to or subtract from the quality of the ethics climate. Improving ethical practice is one of our great opportunities and challenges as both public officials and as school representatives.
Ethicist Rushworth Kidder reminds us that our responsibility is not just to act ethically as individuals, but to build more ethical cultures. He calls on us to tackle the mental constructs that impede our ethical progress: over-emphasis on short-term results, a narrow compliance focus, black and white polarizations, lack of political will and a tolerance for low integrity.
The training that follows is meant to support you in leading with ethics, regardless of whether or not you hold a formal supervisorial role. The training will make you more comfortable in using the language of ethics, so that you can be more effective in asking and evaluating “What is right?” for public school officials to exemplify.