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.
Rich Robinson, Executive Director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network has spent the last twelve years investigating the massive infusion of money into politics and its influence not only on politicians and politics, but on how it has changed who governs and holds political power in our state.
There are many centers doing ethics work and contributing to the growing global "ethics economy." As far as we know, however, there is only one center which combines study of bioethical issues with the social sciences in medicine. Notably, it is in Michigan--at the University of Michigan Medical School--and known as CBSSM, a felicitous acronym for The Center for Bioethics and the Social Sciences in Medicine.
In America, we rely on multiple institutions and as many pathways to train new educators in the fundamentals of the teaching craft. Reformers have routinely called for more systematic approaches, prominent among them transforming teacher education to model the clinical training, research practices and mentoring of doctors.
Parents everywhere have concerns about what will happen to their children and families after they are gone. On an abstract level, older generations worry about whether they are leaving their children better opportunities to live the good life, meaning a life safe and free from harm as well as one offering freedom to make ethical choices and to actively engage with others in the places where they live.
For parents of children with development disabilities, this concern is not an abstraction.
Media recognition of social enterprise overwhelmingly focuses on social entrepreneurs whose initiatives are the passions of the technology moguls and philanthropists of Silicon Valley. Here in Michigan, however, social entrepreneurs are relying, not only on innovative ways to deal with large ethical problems, from food justice to restorative justice, they are relying on a new legal form to do something and to make a difference.
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.