Examining the Crossroads of Law, Ethics, and Education Leadership




Information Age Publishing



Educational leaders are bound by legal and ethical imperatives to nnake certain that all children have access to an education and the opportunity to learn. To better understand how law and ethics intersect, this article adopted the cultural study perspective to analyze U.S. Supreme Court opinions for language revealing the intersection of law and ethics. The Supreme Court has contributed to the realization of educational goals, relying on the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to ensure that equal educational opportunities are not deprived because of a child’s race {Brown v. Board of Education, 1954) or illegal immigration status (Plyier v. Doe, 1982). Through the cultural study of law and exploration of legal discourse—language, symbols, and content—in these land-mark Supreme Court decisions, similar taxonomies and patterns of discussion emerged illustrating the intersection of law and ethics. These taxonomies were used as coding protocols and exploratory guides for the subsequent review of education leadership literature through the quantitative content analysis method. Based on this analysis, a proposal is made advocating a paradigm shift in the way that law and education scholars analyze, discuss, and critique the Supreme Court decisions affecting children’s educational rights. Specifically, this article proposes the adoption of an integrated legal and ethical paradigm to study the legal discourse in the Supreme Court’s education law decisions. Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife. —John Dewey The U.S. Supreme Court has played a significant role in establishing basic legal imperatives through numerous decisions that interpret and protect the constitutional and statutory rights of children in schools. On national and local levels, cases such as Broton v. Board of Education (1954) and Plyier v. Doe (1982) have had a widespread impact on public education in

Read more.