NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct – Part 1 of 7



hello I'm Peter Bissell Ango Senior Director for professional development at the National Association for the education of young children and I'm joined today with by Stephanie Feeny Stephanie I'm really happy to be here in this conversation Peter thank you for asking me this gives me an opportunity to talk about my favorite subject which is professional ethics and early childhood education I was the co-author of the first na ey C code of ethical conduct which was approved in 1989 I've written two books for any eyz about professional ethics and quite a few articles over the years I've participated in the development of two supplements for the na ey C code of ethical conduct one for adult educators and one for program administrators and I have been involved in three revisions of the code that have been conducted since 1989 wonderful wonderful so now you know Waikato Stephanie is sitting here with me well the reason that we're doing this is for two things one this is the 20th anniversary of the code so in honor of this anniversary we are having this dialogue and the other is that that this dialogue is a supplement to an article by Stephanie in in young children ethics in early care and education where do we come from and where are we going so first I'd like to talk about what the code is to na YC and the code is a position statement of NAU IC and na e YC develops and disseminates position statements for several reasons one is to take informed decisions on significant issues in the field issues that affect young children's development to promote broad-based dialogue on these issues and to promote this dialogue in a way that we can all speak with a common language practitioners researchers policymakers and and families and certainly the code does the code of ethical conduct does give us the opportunity to do that Stephanie mentioned some of the history of the code and while this is the 20th anniversary of the code work on ethical issues in early childhood education preceded that in the 1970s we had the work of Lillian cats and Evangeline Board and and others regarding ethical issues in working with young children so Stephanie can you tell us about that work and then what work followed that in which you were involved well low in and Evangeline wrote a wonderful and influential book called ethical behavior and early childhood education which was first published in 1978 and it was revised in 1991 I think it's still available and Lillian really laid out a very powerful rationale for why it would be important for early childhood educators to to have a code of ethical conduct I served on the na ey C governing board from 1980 to 1984 and at that time people were interested in Lillian's book so they had started saying we need a code somebody should write a code of ethics and I thought that sounded like a good idea I didn't know anything about it I took all the files I went home I went I don't know what I'm doing here I didn't like philosophy in college but I remembered a very interesting talk I had heard by a philosopher in my institution the University of Hawaii the philosophers professor Kenneth Kipnis he's a specialist in professional ethics and a very interesting man and I'll call him and so I called Ken and I said this National Association of early childhood educators has asked me to look into writing a code and he had a child in preschool and he had an ethical dilemma with depression also he was kind of interested he's a boy I know some things about doing that and I'll work with you and so we began a collaboration that still continues when I when I don't know what to do with a question now I still cook in the first thing we did after he kind of signed on and said well I'll work with your organization we put an article in young children in nineteen we have a list of those it was about 80 84 85 and it was a survey and we said to our readership its ethics an issue for you should we be pursuing the development of a code and do you have any ethical issues we also got a lot of ethical issues and dilemmas and at one point Ken was looking through these things and he looked at me and he said Stephanie these people are in ethical pain so we have difficult issues we're dealing with so we got these issues and we we read them and we categorized them and we did a couple things we tried to figure out what are the categories that these issues fall into how do they organize themselves and it was really clear there were a lot of issues that had to do with children there were more issues that had to do with families we'll talk about one of those there were issues that had to do with colleagues and employers but sort of with other adults you work with and then there were a whole set of things that were kind of other agencies responsibility to community and society so those became the categories to four sections of the code then we looked at these issues that people sent us and we said there's some that keep coming up and so we took some of those issues and we wrote cases which we will we're going to do that today and then we went to groups all over the country we got a grant from the Wallace Alexander Gore bode foundation and we traveled around mostly Hawaii in California we said okay here's the situation what would the good early childhood educator do in this situation and we started to get real consensus about the things we should do the other thing that we did that that was very interesting and very fun to do was to start to look at our core values because a code of ethics is based on the core values of a profession and so we said to people what do we really believe in what are our values and that was wonderful because we had so much consensus we didn't always agree on the words but we knew what we believed in and that's my favorite about this code yeah was identifying what are the things we care about as a group of people who weren't with young children and then through that process you were able to develop the first draft of the code we did and take that around the country that was part of the 5-year process and in getting buy-in across the exactly so first we looked at we looked at core values we looked at cases we looked at codes from other professional organizations we talked to philosophers we had a couple philosophy consultants who really made sure that what we were doing was consistent with with the integrity of the philosophy of ethics and then we drafted a code and some were in early in that process in a EYC created an Ethics Commission that oversaw this work and that met regularly and advised those of us who were actually kind of doing the staff work on it and it wasn't a staff work we were we were volunteers and so we had that group to guide us and then we would write something up and we'd take it out on the road we take it to workshops we'd put it in the journal eventually we put drafts in the journal we got comments we put cases in the journal so what we really loved about this process was that it it was a participatory process this is our code right we didn't write it for anyone we went to our members to the people who care about kids and we said what would be the right thing for us to do in these situation what would the morality of early childhood education look like of the ethics so we've written the code with the field the governing board approved that first code in 1989 and at that time the board stated that every five years the code would be reviewed by the board and then it would be determined do we need to update the code we need to reaffirm the code or do we need to revise the code so over the since since 1989 the code has been reviewed and revised and reaffirmed we have had new additions of the code 1992-1997 and then the most recent code revised in 2005 and then at each time we followed the same process we've gotten input from the field on what revisions they feel that we need to put into the code we develop drafts now that we do have the internet we can we put a there easier we get it out to everybody much more quickly but we still do the face-to-face and I've been involved more recently and working with Stephanie and Nancy Freeman and other leaders in ethics in our field in getting input from the field and so that's the process that we we've continued I'd like to just make make a comment about because we were talking about core values right and when we did the core values they're right in the front of the code when we did the core values in 1989 and we did the first two revisions there was no changes everybody said that's right those are the right values in the third edition we added one core value so in 2005 we added the value respect diversity and children families and colleagues

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