One of the central characteristics of mature profession is its willingness to abide by a set of ethical principles. As professionals serving individuals with exceptionalities, special educators possess a special trust endowed by the community and recognized by professional licensure. As such, special educators have a responsibility to be guided by their professional principles and practice standards. This section delineated the CEC Code of Ethics and Standards for Professional Practice. They are intended to provide the kind of leadership and guidance that makes each of us proud to be special educators and provides us with the principles by which our practice is guided.. The Code of Ethics is made up of eight fundamental principles to which all special educators are bound. The Standards for Professional Practice describe the guidelines special educatots use in carrying out day-to-day tesponsibilities. The Professional Practice Standards are how special educators measure themselves and theii colleagues professional excellence. It is incumbent on all special educators to use these standards.
CEC CODE OF ETHICS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATORS
We declare the following principles to be the Code of Ethics for educators of persons with exceptionalities. Members of the special education profession are responsible for upholding and advancing these principles. Members of the Council for Exceptional Children agree to judge and be judged by them in accordance with the spirit and provisions of this Code.
A. Special education professionals are committed to developing the highest educational and quality of life potential of individuals with exceptionalities.
B. Special education professionals promote and maintain a high level of competence and integrity in ptacticing their profession.
C. Special education professionals engage in professional activities which benefit individuals with exceptionalities, their families, other colleagues, students, of research subjects.
D. Special education professionals exercise objective professional judgment in the practice of their profession.
E. Special education professionals strive to advance their knowledge and skills regarding the education of individuals with exceptionalities.
F. Special education professionals work within the standards and policies of their profession.
G. Special education professionals seek to uphold and improve where necessary the laws, regulations, and policies governing the delivery of special education and related services and the practice of their profession.
H. Special education ptofessionals do not condone or participate in unethical or illegal acts, nor violate professional standards adopted by the Delegate Assembly of CEC.
SPECIAL EDUCATION PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE STAN DARDS
1. PROFESSIONALS IN RELATION TO PERSONS WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES AND THEIR FAMILIES
Special education personnel are committed to the application of professional expertise to ensure the provision of quality education for all individuals with exceptionalities. Professionals strive to
1. Identify and use instructional methods and curricula that are appropriate to their area of professional practice and effective in meeting the individual needs of persons with exceptionalities.
2. Participate in the selection and use of appropriate instructional materials, equipment, supplies, and other resources needed in the effective practice of their profession.
3. Create safe and effective learning environments, which contribute to fulfillment of needs, stimulation of learning, and selfconcept.
4. Maintain class size and caseloads that are conducive to meeting the individual instructional needs of individuals with exceptionalities.
5. Use assessment instruments and procedures that do not discriminate against persons with exceptionalities on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, political practices, family or social background, sexual orientation, or exceptionality.
6. Base grading, promotion, graduation, and/or movement out of the program on the individual goals and objectives for individuals with exceptionalities.
7. Provide accurate program data to administrators, colleagues, and parents, based on efficient and objective record keeping practices, for the purpose of decision making.
8. Maintain confidentiality of information except when information is released under specific conditions of written consent and statutory confidentiality requirements.
Management of Behavior
Special education professionals participate with other professionals and with parents in an interdisciplinary effort in the management of behavior. Professionals
9. Apply only those disciplinary methods and behavioral procedures, which they have been instructed to use, and which do not undermine the dignity of the individual or the basic human rights of persons with exceptionalities, such as corporal punishment.
10. Clearly specify the goals and objectives for behavior management practices in the persons’ with exceptionalities individualized education program.
11. Conform to policies, statutes, and rules established by state/ provincial and local agencies to judicious application of disciplinary methods and behavioral procedures.
12. Take adequate measures to discourage, prevent, and intervene when a colleague’s behavior is perceived as being detrimental to exceptional students.
13. Refrain from aversive techniques unless repeated trials of other methods have failed and only after consultation with parents and appropriate agency officials.
1. seek adequate instruction and supervision before they are required to perform support services for which they have not been prepared previously.
2. May administer medication, where state/ provincial policies do not preclude such action, if qualified to do so or if written instructions are on file which state the purpose of the medication, the conditions under which it may be administered, possible side effects, the physician’s name and phone number, and the professional liability if a mistake is made. The professional will not be required to administer medication.
3. Note and report to those concerned whenever changes in behavior occur in conjunction with the administration of medication or at any other time.
Professionals seek to develop relationships with parents based on mutual respect for their roles in achieving benefits for the exceptional person. Special education professionals
1. Develop effective communication with parents, avoiding technical terminology, using the primary language of the home, and other modes of communication when appropriate.
2. Seek and use parents’ knowledge and expertise in planning, conducting, and evaluating special education and related services for persons with exceptionalities.
3. Maintain communications between patents and professionals with appropriate respect for privacy and confidentiality.
4. Extend opportunities for parent education utilizing accurate information and professional methods.
5. Inform parents of the educational rights of their children and of any proposed or actual practices, which violate those rights.
6. Recognize and respect cultural diversities which exist in some families with persons with exceptionalities.
7. Recognize that the relationship of home and community environmental conditions affects the behavior and outlook of the exceptional person.
Special education professionals serve as advocates for exceptional students by speaking, wtiting, and acting in a variety of situations on their behalf. They
1. Continually seek to improve government provisions for the education of persons with exceptionalities while ensuring that public statements by professionals as individuals are not construed to represent official policy statements of the agency that employs them.
2. Work cooperatively with and encourage other professionals to improve the provision of special education and related services to persons with exceptionalities.
3. Document and objectively report to one’s supervisors or administrators inadequacies in resources and promote appropriate corrective action.
4. Monitor for inappropriate placements in special education and intervene at appropriate levels to cotrect the condition when such inappropriate placements exist.
5. Follow local, state/ptovincial, and federal laws and regulations which mandate a free appropriate public education to exceptional students and the protection of the rights of persons with exceptionalities to equal opportunities in our society.
2. PROFESSIONALS IN RELATION TO EMPLOYMENT
Certification and Qualification
Professionals ensure that only persons deemed qualified by having met state/provincial minimum standards are employed as teachers, administrators, and related service providers for individuals with exceptionalities.
1. Professionals do not discriminate in hiring on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, political practices, family or social background, sexual orientation, or exceptionality.
2. Professionals represent themselves in an ethical and legal mannet in regard to their training and experience when seeking new employment.
3. Professionals give notice consistent with local education agency policies when intending to leave employment. 4. Professionals adhere to the conditions of a contract or terms of an appointment in the setting where they practice.
5. Professionals released from employment are entitled to a wtitten explanation of the reasons for termination and to fair and impartial due process procedures.
6. Special education professionals share equitably the opportunities and benefits (salary, working conditions, facilities, and other resources) of other professionals in the school system.
7. Professionals seek assistance, including the services of other professionals, in instances where personal problems threaten to interfere with their job performance.
8. Professionals respond objectively when requested to evaluate applicants seeking employment.
9. Professionals have the right and responsibility to resolve professional problems by utilizing established procedures, including grievance procedures, when appropriate.
Assignment and Role
1. Professionals should receive clear written communication of all duties and responsibilities, including those which are prescribed as conditions of their employment.
2. Professionals promote educational quality and intra- and inter- professional cooperation through active participation in the planning, policy development, management, and evaluation of the special education program and the education program at large so that programs remain responsive to the changing needs of persons with exceptionalities.
3. Professionals practice only in areas of exceptionality, at age levels, and in program models for which they are prepared by their training and/or experience.
4. Adequate supervision of and support for special education professionals is provided by other professionals qualified by their training and experience in the area of concern.
5. The administration and supervision of special education professionals provides for clear lines of accountability.
6. The unavailability of substitute teachers or support personnel, including aides, does not result in the denial of special education services to a greater degree than to that of other educational programs.
1. Special education professionals systematically advance their knowledge and skills in order to maintain a high level of competence and response to the changing needs of persons with exceptionalities by pursuing a program of continuing education including but not limited to participation in such activities as inservice training, professional conferences/ workshops, professional meetings, continuing education courses, and the reading of professional literature.
2. Professionals participate in the objective and systematic evaluation of themselves, colleagues, services, and programs for the purpose of continuous improvement of professional performance.
3. Professionals in administrative positions support and facilitate professional development.
3. PROFESSIONALS IN RELATION TO THE PROFESSION AND TO OTHER PROFESSIONALS
1. Special education professionals assume responsibility for participating in professional organizations and adherence to the standards and codes of ethics of those organizations.
2. Special education professionals have a responsibility to provide varied and exemplary supervised field experiences for persons in undergraduate and graduate preparation programs.
3. Special education professionals refrain from using professional relationships with students and parents for personal advantage.
4. Special education professionals take an active position in the regulation of the profession through use of appropriate procedures for bringing about changes.
5. Special education professionals initiate, support, and/or participate in research related to the education of persons with exceptionalities with the aim of improving the quality of educational services, increasing the accountability of programs, and generally benefiting persons with exceptionalities. They:
* Adopt procedures that protect the rights and welfare of subjects participating in the research.
* Interpret and publish research results with accuracy and a high quality of scholarship.
* Support a cessation of the use of any research procedure that may result in undesirable consequences for the participant.
* Exercise all possible precautions to prevent misapplication or misuse of a research effort, by self or others.
Special education professionals function as members of interdisciplinary teams, and the reputation of the profession resides wirh them. They
1. Recognize and acknowledge the competencies and expertise of members representing other disciplines as well as those of members in their own disciplines.
2. Strive to develop positive attitudes among other professionals toward persons with exceptionalities, representing them with an objective regard for their possibilities and their limitations as persons in a democratic society.
3. Cooperate with other agencies involved in serving persons with exceptionalities through such activities as the planning and coordination of information exchanges, service delivery, evaluation, and training, so that duplication or loss in quality of services may not occur.
4. Provide consultation and assistance, where appropriate, to both general and special educators as well as other school personnel serving persons wirh exceptionalities.
5. Provide consultation and assistance, where appropriate, to professionals in non-school settings serving persons with exceptionalities.
6. Maintain effective interpersonal relations with colleagues and other professionals, helping them to develop and maintain positive and accurate perceptions about the special education profession.
Copyright Council for Exceptional Children Spring 2008
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