Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

James Carroll

Second Advisor

Jacqueline Waggoner

Third Advisor

Bruce Weitzel

LC Subjects

Teachers--Professional ethics--United States; Teachers--Training of


Given the societal expectation of high ethical standards for teachers, best practice suggests that teacher preparation programs employ real-world case scenarios in their ethics education. However, at present, the field lacks a thorough account of modern ethics code violations in the teaching profession from which preparation programs might draw case studies. The purpose of this study was to examine teacher licensure sanctions across multiple states in order to gain a clearer picture of ethics code violations in the modern teaching profession. Focusing on eight U.S. states, ten years of final orders of licensure sanction were examined (n = 8,765). These data were coded using ethical behavior descriptions from the Model Code of Ethics for Educators created by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Credentialing. Results were described in terms of teacher demographics, categories of ethics violating behaviors, and resultant sanctions. Findings indicated that the highest percentage of sanctioned educators were males, and a high percentage of sanctioned teachers held health and physical education licenses. The most common ethics violations involved non-school-related criminal activity, sexual misconduct with students, failure to disclose previous crimes or license sanctions, physical aggression toward students, and endangering student health or safety. These results suggest ongoing value in society for teachers who are honest and who protect children. In addition to providing case study information, these results may help focus preparation program ethics instruction, with the goal of preventing the most common ethical violations. For states that choose to provide ethics training for in-service teachers, these results may provide baseline data for states to use as a gauge of change over time. The inconsistent nature of sanctioning results, both between states and within states, suggests that state licensing boards may be due for an examination and restructuring of teacher licensure sanctioning processes.


Copyright for this work is retained by the author.