Professional Rights and Responsibilities

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Professional Rights and Responsibilities

Your rights

  • New teachers have the right to one year of induction with a mentor.
  • Teachers have the right to a proper assignment, i.e. within your area of certification
  • Teachers have the right, within policies of a school districts, to assign grades to students.
  • Teachers have the right to a 30-minute duty-free lunch break.
  • As a member of a bargaining unit, teachers have rights contained in local contracts.

Your responsibilities

  • Observe child abuse laws
  • Uphold requirements of the Professional Standards and Practices Act
  • Keep teaching certificate valid and active
  • Behave in a manner consistent with PSEA's Code of Ethics

Professional Rights and Responsibilities Commission

PSEA established a Professional Rights and Responsibilities Commission to provide members with resources to foster positive, productive workplaces and local associations. The Commission is committed to promoting professional conduct, administering the PSEA Code of Ethics of the Education Profession, assisting in the reduction of member conflicts, and guaranteeing Association due process rights.

PSEA’s Code of Ethics of the Education Profession

Principle I: Commitment to the Student

The educator measures his/her success by the progress of each student toward realization of his/her potential as a worthy and effective citizen. The educator, therefore, works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.

Principle II: Commitment to the Public

The educator believes that patriotism in its highest form requires dedication to the principles of our democratic heritage. He/she shares with all other citizens the responsibility for the development of sound public policy and assumes full political and citizenship responsibilities. The educator bears particular responsibility for the development of policy relating to the extension of educational opportunities for all and for interpreting educational programs and policies to the public.

Principle III: Commitment to the Profession

The educator believes that the quality of the services of the education profession directly influences the nation and its citizens. He/she, therefore, exerts every effort to raise professional standards, to improve his/her service, to promote a climate in which the exercise of professional judgment is encouraged, and to achieve conditions which attract persons worthy of the trust to careers in education. Aware of the value of united effort, he/she contributes actively to the support, planning and programs of professional organizations.

Principle IV: Commitment to Professional Employment Practices

The educator regards the employment agreement as a pledge to be executed both in spirit and in fact, in a manner consistent with the highest ideals of professional service. He/she believes that sound professional personnel relationships with governing boards are built upon personal integrity, dignity and mutual respect. The educator discourages the practice of his/her profession by unqualified persons.

Code of Ethics Q&A

What is ethical conduct?

Appropriate conduct of an occupational group, related to performance of duty, use of power, privileges, resources, funds or trust, advanced and agreed to by the majority of the members of the group.

Why have ethical conduct?

To protect the interest of the profession in its relationship with the student, the public, the profession and the employer. (See the four principles of the Code adopted by the PSEA House of Delegates in 1968 and revised in 1972.)

Who enforces ethical conduct?

Each member of the group through individual commitment to the code provisions, and all members of the group through the adoption, advocacy and interpretation of ethical principles. PSEA Bylaws, Article IX, Section 8, requires local associations to adopt the PSEA Code of Ethics as a standard for member conduct.

When and how is the Code of Ethics implemented?

Through membership education programs and leadership training, and by strict adherence to the association’s ethics complaint and hearing due process procedures. PSEA Bylaws: Article IV, 4. Powers; Article X,C. Due Process Guarantees; Article XI, 3. Duties and PR&R Guidelines for Local Associations, provide the authority for promoting and encouraging professional conduct commensurate with the high standards set forth in the Code of Ethics.

Where are ethics complaints and charges against members taken?

Members who seek to prosecute ethical charges or members who are respondents to such charges go directly to the local association Professional Rights & Responsibilities (PR&R) representative for procedural rights and responsibilities advice and assistance. Local association executive committees refer ethics charges to the State Commission on PR&R for the conduct of a due process hearing before a panel of peers. The Commission may, on the basis of the hearing panel’s report, recommend remedial action to conduct found to be unethical. The PSEA Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the Commission, will consider censure, suspension or expulsion of members who are subject to discipline action for unethical conduct. (PSEA Bylaws Article X - Remedies, Section C - Member Discipline P 1 & 2.)

Want to learn more?

You can learn more by reading PSEA's Code of Ethics for the Education Profession brochure.

Conflict Resolution Through Collaboration

Membership disputes can have a negative impact on job performance and hurt your local association.

To assist members with disputes, PSEA offers the Conflict Resolution Through Collaboration (CRTC) program. The CRTC program is a confidential, individualized approach to resolve member-to-member disputes while eliminating the need to file formal ethics charges. It is an internal service provided for PSEA members by PSEA members.

CRTC is:

  • Voluntary
  • Informal
  • Confidential

CRTC is not:

  • Adversarial confrontations among members
  • Part of the negotiation process (collective bargaining)
  • Related to the Bureau of Mediation
  • A mandated arbitration process (grievances)
  • An open public hearing (courtroom trial)

Request CRTC assistance

For additional information about the CRTC program or to request brochures, contact your local president, region president, or PSEA UniServ representative, or complete the CRTC assistance request form.