Ethical question for teachers arising from inter-school competition.

Year: 1999

Author: Hall, Alan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The development of a system of self-managing schools in New Zealand has encouraged competition between schools for students and resources. It is now possible for schools to enrol students from the neighbourhoods of other schools which tends to yield increased resources and improve the educational opportunities for their students at the expense of students in other schools. This raises ethical questions for teachers who work in schools that pursue such initiatives, especially if they help formulate or implement these policies. Are the ethical obligations of teachers only to the pupils of their own schools or do they also have wider ethical responsibilities towards the broader community and the teaching profession as a whole? The issue is explored by reviewing the professional obligations of teachers and considering whether the relationship between teacher and student is properly a contract or a covenant. It is argued that although a non-tuist stance may be appropriate in economic negotiations it is inappropriate for members of a helping profession. Teachers have ethical responsibilities beyond those to the pupils of their schools.