Education continues to command political and public attention; elementary and secondary school reform is frequently mentioned when Americans are asked about what changes are necessary to ensure America's place in the world.
Even so, amidst all the interest in educational reform, very little has been said about its ethics: that is, whether the most popular reforms offer principled approaches that serve individual students' best interests and the common good of schools and communities.
Public awareness of pediatric bioethics dilemmas is often limited to media reports dramatizing conflicts over the rights of families and doctors in determining the circumstances for performing highly experimental surgeries or limiting life-saving treatments to seriously ill newborns, today remembered as educational case studies or lawsuit names--from Baby Fae to Baby K.
Perhaps you have had a discussion with friends about the best attributes you want in your own doctor.
At A2Ethics.org, we have recently had such a chat (More on an entirely different kind of chat in a moment). One quality we decided is truly essential: the doctor who listens, not only to our hearts and lungs, but who actually listens to what we say and hears us out. In other words, we want our doctor to give us a fair amount of time. We don’t need all day. Just enough to get our concerns circulated and aired in a fair-minded and nonjudgmental manner.
For the A2Ethics.org working ethics series, we have been touring the community, talking with people about the ethics of their work. So, this got us thinking: what do people do when they are NOT working? And is their free time really ethics-free?
When we told a few people we were doing a podcast on museum ethics, we got some funny looks. And some interesting guesswork about museum ethics. One wondered whether it involved people who deface works of art and cultural treasures: sticking their gum on Mona Lisa's nose. Another ventured that museum ethics included famous museum heists, which are "all inside jobs," such as the recent disappearance of masterpieces by Picasso and Matisse from the walls of the Paris Museum of Modern Art.
Public opinion polls have become so ingrained in American politics that we give little thought to whether such polls are actually beneficial to our democracy. More compelling, we think, is the increasing willingness of public opinion pollsters to use their technologies to tell us about our collective attitudes on a wide range of ethical issues: from whether we "favor" stem cell research to our willingness to "agree" with some forms of torture.
When Austin Tracy found out he owed back taxes to the IRS, he took a stand. He refused to pay, on the grounds that as a gay American, he has been denied his rights. Jeanine DeLay and Barton Bund discuss the ethical framework for activism. This political gesture has drawn sharp criticism, but Tracy makes a persuasive case. Join us for a fascinating hour-long interview with the young radical.
At A2ethics.org, we may almost be forgiven (okay, maybe not) if we thought that fair food was one of the fried concoctions sold on a stick, that as children we grazed on, waiting to see the prize-winning animals at our state fairs.