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An updated Michigan Code of Educational Ethics has been approved by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to guide local policy and decision-making beginning this school year.
Adapted from a model code developed by a national panel of practicing teachers and administrators, Michigan’s document covers a range of expectations such as integrity in instruction, maintaining professional relationships, and protecting student privacy which should be practiced by all individuals working with students.
The Code will be reflected on educators’ certificates in the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) beginning this month. The document is divided into 5 sections:
- Responsibility to the Profession
- Responsibility for Professional Competence
- Responsibility to Students
- Responsibility to the School Community
- Responsible and ethical use of technology
Of note, educators are encouraged to advocate for both the profession and students in many ways, including:
- Participation in educational and professional organizations and associations
- Respectful discourse regarding professional issues
- Advocacy for adequate resources and facilities
- Advocacy for policies and laws that support/promote the education and well-being of students and families
- Advocacy for equal access to technology for all students
- Respecting individual student uniqueness (code enumerates identity issues such as actual or perceived gender, civil status, socio-economic status, culture, etc.)
Additionally, it reminds educators of important ethical issues:
- The implication of accepting or giving gifts
- Avoiding potentially inappropriate relationships with students, student teachers, family members of students, etc.
- Being aware of FOIA implications when sharing sensitive information electronically
- Maintaining separate professional/personal virtual profiles
The new Michigan Code of Educational Ethics blends both encouragement for professional growth and advocacy with reminders of the responsibility we have to the academic and social well-being of our students.