PULLMAN, Wash. — When students are upset and need a hug or pat on the back, should educators override their concerns about potential sexual harassment charges and offer that physical reassurance?
When education administrators are asked to provide a job reference, how complete should that reference be?
Should an incompetent teacher who is a year or two from retirement be allowed to continue to teach?
Educational leaders from across Washington will meet at Washington State University June 24-25 to discuss those kinds of ethical dilemmas at the 76th annual A. A. Cleveland Conference, announced Dennis Ray, conference chair. The conference is sponsored by the WSU College of Education and will be held in the Compton Union Building Cascade Room on the Pullman campus.
Leading discussions and workshops will be two Seattle-based authorities in leadership ethics — Bill Grace, executive director of the Center for Ethical Leadership, and Bob Howard, executive director of Democracy, Ethics and Educational Principles.
Grace, who has worked in higher education administration for 17 years, established the Center for Ethical Leadership in 1991. The center has contracted with public school districts, governmental agencies and businesses nationwide, including the state of Kansas, Ford Motor Company, and cities like Issaquah and Redmond, to provide discussions on ethical issues. Grace recently received a $500,000 Kellogg Foundation grant to develop models of ethical leadership.
Howard, who established the non-profit agency Democracy, Ethics and Educational Principles in 1997, is also a lecturer at the University of Washington. Focusing on the ethical problems associated with the K-12 schools, he has consulted with school districts and major foundations nationwide and recently received a character education grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Cleveland Conference, named for WSU’s first dean of education, explores ethical issues this year because virtually all preparation for educational administrators is exclusively devoted to technical issues, Ray said.
“Administrators face these kinds of ethical questions daily, but we very rarely have a chance to discuss the ethical aspects of our jobs,” Ray said. “This kind of opportunity is really needed.”

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NOTE TO MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES: Bill Grace and Bob Howard will be available to the media at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 25, at the Compton Union Building, Room 131 (faculty lounge), Washington State University campus at Pullman. Media representatives are also invited to attend any portion of the Cleveland Conference.