Ethics and Education
Ethics and Morals are two important words everyone knows, but which very few truly understand. Ethics is defined, in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, as the discipline dealing with what is good and what is bad. Morals are defined, in the same dictionary, as those principles of right and wrong in behavior. For Kozol in The Night Is Dark and I Am Far From Home, ethics and morals have similar definitions but extend to include a sense of compassion for others. I agree with his argument that the purpose of schooling is to educate an ethical human being: a person who not only lives his life by facts and knowledge but also by ethics and morals.
The need for schools to address ethics and morals is important in the 1990s,
Due to the emergence of the single-parent family. This new type of family, along with the family with two working parents, has caused the "latch key" child to become commonplace in many schools today. These children end up taking care of themselves since their only parent is still working when they are dismissed from school. As a result, they receive their own ethics and morals either through exceedingly, violent television programs, comic books, popular, (at times pornographic), magazines, and most often from other kids on the street. Such a situation results in children with a warped sense of reality, ethics, and morals, allowing them to easily become susceptible to delinquency. If a child were to have a correct sense of right and wrong, compassion, and self-worth then problems like violence and drugs would diminish in our society. While some believe that the only job of a school is to impart knowledge, schools have historically reinforced the sense of right and wrong that children received from their parents. However since the existence of parents or other adult figures in the community is very rare, it should now be the sole purpose of a school to educate children both academically, ethically and morally.
Since in school are where children interact most often with any adult, it should be standard for schools to have ethics and morals in their curricula.
However, the decision of what ethics and whose morals to include in curricula poses a problem for many schools. With so many different ways of thought and senses of morality, the ability to decide on one standardized set of ethics and morality proves to be almost impossible. The decision is also difficult since morality at times is synonymous with religion and deciding on a particular set of morality can be interpreted as favoring a certain religion within a school. Other problems with this system are a teacher's possible conflict with certain ethical and moral issues...