The vast majority of people, no matter what their demographic or socioeconomic status, believe in similar shared values.
Shared values are commonly known as, “explicit or implicit fundamental beliefs, concepts, and principles that underlie the culture of an organization, and which guide decisions and behavior of its employees, management and members.”
When building common shared values, participants influence each other by openly communicating various viewpoints.
At times, it can be difficult to openly express ones shared values and invite potential criticism.
With that in mind, school communities are pushed to the forefront to actively demonstrate shared values that reflect community support in their decision-making process.
Creating decisions based upon dilemma is a challenge that has faced humanity since the beginning of time.
As human beings, we are given the ability to process and reason.
The ability to process and reason comes easy for some and tests others.
Individuals who possess the ability to make decisions based on sound reason and process often find themselves in positions to influence at the personal and community level.
Individuals who struggle with the ability process and reason at the moral level more often find themselves seeking reassurance from others to
reassure themselves that the correct decision has been made.
Ethical dilemma decision-making based upon the theory of right-verses-wrong and right-verses-right challenges educational communities to use their best judgment based upon established shared values and vision.
The ability to establish sound decisions based on the right-verses-wrong decision-making process may seem straightforward and simple for a school community.
Thus, school communities strive to make quality decisions based on facts.
In the opposite spectrum, school communities are challenged to investigate potential outcomes from decisions or judgments based on right-verses-right ethical dilemmas.
Right-verses-right ethical decisions present an amplified challenge as both sides of potential judgment establish near equal credibility.
When faced to make decisions in a right-verses-right ethical dilemma, school communities must use ends-based-thinking.
That means the decision-making process is established by key actions from within the situation that identify what potential options were presented throughout the experience.
With sound understanding of the potential decision outcomes and what they represent, “the greatest good for the greatest number” school communities strive to establish fair and equitable decisions.
School communities in an ever-changing society will continually be challenged to face moral and ethical decision-making situations.
To empower school communities to reach their potential, they must be willing to identify and view moral courage as a common practice, not as a challenge.
Built within moral courage are the shared values that are created throughout an effective school community.
The ability to demonstrate shared values will ultimately allow opportunities for moral courage to grow within educational environments.
Scott Bleck is administrator of the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.