What problems in communities impede the teaching of morals and ethics in schools?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One issue with teaching morals and ethics in schools, at least in public schools, is that many aspects of ethics and morality are culture-specific. What people from some cultures hold to be morally wrong may not be so in other cultures. Even within cultures, what some people regard as immoral might be perfectly acceptable to others. This is not to say that societies cannot educate their children in ethical behavior, or that there are not shared norms within societies--respect for the property of others, academic integrity, and tolerance spring to mind--but it can be very difficult to get people to agree what these things are. In short, one problem in teaching ethics and morality is determining what we agree on, and what a curriculum in this area would consist of. Educators would also have to expose students to the contested nature of these concepts, and what they mean in everyday life, without being overly prescriptive. Within certain constitutionally-defined boundaries, it would be inappropriate to use the classroom to force a moral system on students.