Ethics and Ideology

In this assignment, you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of our class material on Ethics and Ideology by applying it in the activities below. Please carefully read the instructions for this assessment.


>> You may work on this product alone, or you may work with one partner. If you work with a partner, while you will submit only one product, you will both be responsible for the content and the quality of the entire product.

>> The product you submit should be no more than 2-3 pages in length.

>> The text of the paper should use 1.5 line spacing.

>> The product will be due in class on Tuesday, November 13.

I: Ethics Guiding Your Own Ethical Behavior

The Scenario

You are a teacher at a middle school in central California. Your school serves mostly kids from recent immigrant families that work in the ag industry. Most of the families are lower-income and speak Spanish as the primary language at home. You and your school are very proud of the educational program you offer. Your school collaborates closely with the parents and with community agencies so the kids feel that the school is part of their lives, not just a public bureaucracy. Your teachers are all committed to multilingual and multicultural methods, and your curriculum materials all reflect this commitment, as well. In short, your school cares deeply about the students and is passionate about helping them succeed.

Early in the year, five of the school’s better students, with the support of their families, declare that they wish to apply for admission to a private, rather elite high school in the area. Your school principal has asked you to serve as an assistant to these students and their families to help them fill out applications, get their transcript records together, write personal letters, and navigate all the other hurdles that come with this application process. You are more than willing to play this role because you have no doubts that these students will be able to handle the competition, if they can just get in. You also understand that going to this elite college prep high school will forecast very different life opportunities for these students than will the local public high school. 

When you are reviewing these students’ records, you notice that they do have generally strong grades, but you also realize that each of the students has two or three course grades that are a bit lower. This does not totally surprise you because you understand that many students in the school struggle, and this can sometimes bring everyone’s grades down somewhat, even the best students. But, it does concern you because you know that the competition to get into the private prep school will be very stiff, and most of the other applicants will likely not have even these mild blemishes on their transcripts. Heck, most of these other applicants will have the advantage of coming from schools where high standards and achievement usually drive everyone’s grades up, not down. You can see the process play out where your students could be harmed simply because of where they live and where they go to school. 

It occurs to you that you could easily ‘revise’ your students’ transcripts slightly by increasing one or two grades on each of their transcripts to get rid of those minor blemishes that will certainly harm their competitiveness in the application process. Even small changes to just a few grades could provide a real benefit to the students. And, it seems more than fair, given all the life advantages that most of the other applicants will have enjoyed. 

How would you decide the right or ethical decision to make in this situation?

Your Task

  1. In some detail, explain how you personally would process and decide this ethical choice. Explain your reasoning and your decision in enough detail that one can see the approach to ethics that is being utilized.
  2. Identify the approach to ethics that your reasoning best illustrates, and explain why you think that.

ll. Political Ideology

In our class, we have explored the “political ideologies” of conservatives and liberals in our society. In doing so, we looked at the public policy positions that conservatives and liberals take on a wide variety of specific issues ranging from taxes, to government regulations, to social issues, to foreign affairs. 

We also explored the underlying value differences between conservatives and liberals that might help to explain why they disagree on the many public policy choices facing our country at this time.  Because they assign different levels of importance to certain values, it follows that they would support competing policies that would reflect their competing visions for the kind of society they would want us to be.

Your Task

  1. Identify and briefly explain five specific public policy issues (not generic categories, but particular issues) on which liberals and conservatives disagree.
  2. Identify two values that are generally of high importance to conservatives and two values that are generally of high importance to liberals.
  3. Explain how the differences between conservative and liberal positions on the policy issues you identified reflect the more fundamental differences in their values.