Appendix E - NYS Code of Ethics
Statement of Purpose
The Code of Ethics is a public statement by educators that sets clear expectations and principles to guide practice and inspire professional excellence. Educators believe a commonly held set of principles can assist in the individual exercise of professional judgment. This code speaks to the core values of the profession. "Educator" as used throughout means all educators serving New York schools in positions requiring a certificate, including classroom teachers, school leaders and pupil personnel service providers.
Principle 1: Educators nurture the intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and civic potential of each student.
Educators promote growth in all students through the integration of intellectual, physical, emotional, social and civic learning. They respect the inherent dignity and worth of each individual. Educators help students to value their own identity, learn more about their cultural heritage, and practice social and civic responsibilities. They help students to reflect on their own learning and connect it to their life experience. They engage students in activities that encourage diverse approaches and solutions to issues, while providing a range of ways for students to demonstrate their abilities and learning. They foster the development of students who can analyze, synthesize, evaluate and communicate information effectively.
Principle 2: Educators create, support, and maintain challenging learning environments for all.
Educators apply their professional knowledge to promote student learning. They know the curriculum and utilize a range of strategies and assessments to address differences. Educators develop and implement programs based upon a strong understanding of human development and learning theory. They support a challenging learning environment. They advocate for necessary resources to teach to higher levels of learning. They establish and maintain clear standards of behavior and civility. Educators are role models, displaying the habits of mind and work necessary to develop and apply knowledge while simultaneously displaying a curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. They invite students to become active, inquisitive, and discerning individuals who reflect upon and monitor their own learning.
Principle 3: Educators commit to their own learning in order to develop their practice.
Educators recognize that professional knowledge and development are the foundations of their practice. They know their subject matter, and they understand how students learn. Educators respect the reciprocal nature of learning between educators and students. They engage in a variety of individual and collaborative learning experiences essential to develop professionally and to promote student learning. They draw on and contribute to various forms of educational research to improve their own practice.
Principle 4: Educators collaborate with colleagues and other professionals in the interest of student learning.
Educators encourage and support their colleagues to build and maintain high standards. They participate in decisions regarding curriculum, instruction and assessment designs, and they share responsibility for the governance of schools. They cooperate with community agencies in using resources and building comprehensive services in support of students. Educators respect fellow professionals and believe that all have the right to teach and learn in a professional and supportive environment. They participate in the preparation and induction of new educators and in professional development for all staff.
Principle 5: Educators collaborate with parents and community, building trust and respecting confidentiality.
Educators partner with parents and other members of the community to enhance school programs and to promote student learning. They also recognize how cultural and linguistic heritage, gender, family and community shape experience and learning. Educators respect the private nature of the special knowledge they have about students and their families and use that knowledge only in the students’ best interests. They advocate for fair opportunity for all children.
Principle 6: Educators advance the intellectual and ethical foundation of the learning community.
Educators recognize the obligations of the trust placed in them. They share the responsibility for understanding what is known, pursuing further knowledge, contributing to the generation of knowledge, and translating knowledge into comprehensible forms. They help students understand that knowledge is often complex and sometimes paradoxical. Educators are confidantes, mentors and advocates for their students’ growth and development. As models for youth and the public, they embody intellectual honesty, diplomacy, tact and fairness.
This code shall not be used as a basis for discipline by any employer and shall not be used by the State Education Department as a basis for a proceeding under Part 83 of Commissioner’s Regulations, nor shall it serve as a basis for decisions pertaining to certification or employment in New York State. Conversely, this code shall not be interpreted or used to diminish the authority of any public school employer to evaluate or discipline any employee under provisions of law, regulation, or collective bargaining agreement.
Background on the Development of the Code
The State Board of Regents, as part of its teaching reform initiatives outlined in the 1998 report, New York’s Commitment: Teaching to Higher Standards, called for the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching to develop a Code of Ethics for Teachers. In New York State, a teacher is defined as anyone for whom a certificate is required for service in the State’s public schools. This includes classroom teachers, school administrators, and pupil personnel service providers.
The Standards Board is a 28-member board that serves in an advisory capacity to the Regents and the Commissioner of Education. Its membership consists of teachers, school administrators, higher education representatives, public members, and a teacher education student. The Board worked for over a year to develop a draft Code of Ethics. The process involved a review of numerous other codes developed by professional organizations and by other jurisdictions, both for the teaching profession and for other professions. Individual Board members also consulted with their colleagues in the field to inform the process.
A draft was presented to the Regents Committee on Higher and Professional Education at the October 2001 Board of Regents meeting. Following this preliminary review by the Regents, the draft Code of Ethics was released for public comment. Reactions and suggestions were received from as broad a spectrum as possible: classroom teachers, school administrators and pupil personnel professionals, other members of the school community, teacher education students, college faculty, professional organizations, boards of education, parents and the general public.
The State Standards and Practices Board reviewed all comments received and produced the final version of the code in June 2002. The New York State Code of Ethics for Educators was presented to the Board of Regents at its July 2002 meeting, at which time the Regents authorized the release of the code to the public.