A Chasm Between History and Politics

Type: Article
Topics: Ethics, School Administrator Magazine

March 01, 2023

Ethical Educator
Weighing state law and history

After the state passes a “divisive concepts” law, a parent files a complaint about a teacher’s lesson in a high school social studies class that deals with the Tulsa Massacre. The parent argues the teacher painted the white people of Tulsa as hateful and racist and made students feel guilty about their whiteness. After reviewing the lesson, the superintendent determines it was highly effective for raising important historical issues, but she realizes it could well violate the state law. What stance should the superintendent take?

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The Ethical Educator panel consists of 

  • Sheldon H. Berman, AASA lead superintendent, Redmond, Ore.;
  • Roark Horn, the Pomerantz endowed professor in educational excellence, University of Northern Iowa;
  • Chris Nicastro, former Missouri commissioner of education; and 
  • Maria G. Ott, Irving R. and Virginia A. Melbo chair in education administration, University of Southern California.

Each month, School Administrator draws on actual circumstances to raise an ethical decision-making dilemma in K-12 education. Our distinguished panelists provide their own resolutions to each dilemma.

Do you have a suggestion for a dilemma to be considered?
Send it to: magazine@aasa.org