Educational Ethics During a Pandemic   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Abstract: "This paper examines districts' and states' distributive choices during March and April 2020 to explore the ethics of educating in a pandemic. Section 2 investigates our revealed preferences around the aims of schooling, concluding that we value schools as providers of care before and even above their roles as deliverers of learning opportunities. Section 3 shifts to policy makers' decisions about schools specifically as providers of academic learning. It finds that school closures under COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] 'intensify' existing ethical dilemmas in education policy and practice, but they generally have not posed novel ethical challenges. In contrast to public health ethics in emergency contexts of scarcity, however, egalitarian rather than utilitarian principles seem to motivate policy makers and educators. This led many districts and states to decide initially to offer no educational services to anyone rather than violate substantive equality of educational opportunity. Section 4 finds similar motivations at work in more recent decisions to eliminate high-stakes grading through adoption of mandatory pass/no credit approaches. The paper concludes that while the pandemic has not changed the nature of existing ethical challenges, it has raised the stakes if we fail to realize our ethical commitments--and demonstrated our capacity to have realized them all along."

Report Number:
COVID-19 White Paper 17
Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics
Retrieved From:
Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics: https://ethics.harvard.edu/
Media Type:
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