Recent Education Commentaries

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Teachers
The shameful release of New York’s public ranking of teachers by name caused me to think about the true influence teachers have on all of our lives. The dedication, inspiration, knowledge and influence of men and women given in such service has never been fully appreciated, or properly compensated. The best teachers I had were those that pushed, prodded, cheered,...
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February 27, 2012
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One More
You never know where inspiration will come from. One of the great pleasures in teaching a class of motivated New Hampshire students about ethics are the many personal stories they share. The pre-class assignment was to answer the question derived from the book’s title: What do you stand for – what principles do you live by? Describe a moment of...
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February 15, 2012
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“Students Wrangle with Guns”
That was the front page headline on the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor, Tuesday, January 17. One day earlier, Professor Stephen Ambra and I screened the film Good Night and Good Luck about the journalistic stand news icon Edward R. Murrow took against Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s “Red” scare tactics. The film was part of ourContemporary Ethical Issues class at the New Hampshire Technical...
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January 25, 2012
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Success Without Honor – Part II
On Friday, November 4, Central Pennsylvania’s Patriot-Newswas the first to break the story on allegations of sex abuse on at least 8 young boys by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky that go back as far as 1998. In ’02, staffer Mike McQueary personally witnessed another attack by Sandusky. Since that time, anyone with a microphone, camera crew or blog...
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November 30, 2011
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Success Without Honor – Part I
In a corner of my office, on a wall, hangs a framed memory that reads: “Presented by the Faculty Staff Club with appreciation to Jim Lichtman, writer & ethics specialist, What Do You Stand For? – Getting Back America’s Integrity, November 3, 2005.” The certificate was given (already framed) for a talk I presented to the Penn State Forum, signed...
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November 28, 2011
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Who’s on first?!
Costello: Well then who’s on first? Abbott: Yes. Costello: I mean the fellow’s name. Abbott: Who. Costello: The guy on first. Abbott: Who. Costello: The first baseman. Abbott: Who. Costello: The guy playing… Abbott: WHO is on first! Costello: I’m asking YOU who’s on first. Abbott: That’s the man’s name. Costello: That’s who’s name? Abbott: Yes! Given the variety of...
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July 13, 2011
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Look Who’s Teaching Ethics!
Okay, you’re registering for Fall classes at… oh, let’s say, The New Hampshire Technical Institute in that charming little town of Concord just a stone’s throw from Manchester. But wait… there’s been a last minute change in the required class of Contemporary Ethical Issues. Instead of Professor Stephen Ambra, this semester’s class will be taught by former White House Counsel for...
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June 6, 2011
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The Shadow Knows
“The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. ‘You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?’ “I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her...
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May 11, 2011
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The Gift
You’re the executive director of a non-profit cultivating donors for the completion of a new center that will educate hundreds of students each year who otherwise could not afford it. After returning from vacation, you discover that the financial officer deposited close to a half-million dollar check from a donor and some of the funds have already been withdrawn to...
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March 9, 2011
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Accepting Criticism
“Improving the world starts with ourselves.” That’s how one New Hampshire student summarized ethics. A straightforward message not far from Gandhi’s assertion that we must “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” However, putting that principle into practice can sometimes be daunting, particularly in dealing with individuals who may interpret the Golden Rule as something considerably less than...
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February 21, 2011