We will begin the course with a review of ethics and practice standards for special educators and paraeducators as developed by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Moving forward in this eBook you will become familiar with the High Leverage Practices (HLPs)  in Special Education. These 22 HLPs are essentially research based practices for special educators.

Excerpt from: Rhode Island College, Academic Integrity and Ethics Across the Discipline, https://library.ric.edu/c.php?g=62216&p=400365
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License unless otherwise noted.

Key Takeaways

  • The Profession
    (1) Special education professionals assume responsibility for participating in professional organizations and adherence to the standards and codes of ethics of those organizations.
    ……
    (5) Special education professionals initiate, support, and/or participate in research related to the education of persons with exceptionalities with the aim of improving the quality of educational services, increasing the accountability of programs, and generally benefiting persons with exceptionalities.

Go to and download the Special Educators Code of Ethics

Professional special educators are guided by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) professional, ethical principles (see below) and practice standards (see below) in ways that respect the diverse characteristics and needs of individuals with exceptionalities and their families. They are committed to upholding and advancing the following principles:

  1. Maintaining challenging expectations for individuals with exceptionalities to develop the highest possible learning outcomes and quality of life potential in ways that respect their dignity, culture, language, and background.
  2. Maintaining a high level of professional competence and integrity and exercising professional judgment to benefit individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  3. Promoting meaningful and inclusive participation of individuals with exceptionalities in their schools and communities.
  4. Practicing collegially with others who are providing services to individuals with exceptionalities.
  5. Developing relationships with families based on mutual respect and actively involving families and individuals with exceptionalities in educational decision making.
  6. Using evidence, instructional data, research and professional knowledge to inform practice.
  7. Protecting and supporting the physical and psychological safety of individuals with exceptionalities.
  8. Neither engaging in nor tolerating any practice that harms individuals with exceptionalities.
  9. Practicing within the professional ethics, standards, and policies of CEC; upholding laws, regulations, and policies that influence professional practice; and advocating improvements in laws, regulations, and policies.
  10. Advocating for professional conditions and resources that will improve learning outcomes of individuals with exceptionalities.
  11. Engaging in the improvement of the profession through active participation in professional organizations.
  12. Participating in the growth and dissemination of professional knowledge and skills.

Adopted by the CEC Board of Directors, January 2010

Go to and read special educator standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)


Later in the course we will read and discuss the new guiding principles that have been recently adopted by the NH State Board of Education. New Hampshire Department of Education, (2018,  June 13) Guiding Principles: The Code of Ethics for New Hampshire Teachers.  This Code of Ethics focuses on the teacher as a professional who has a highly regarded impact on students. With this responsibility comes expectations above and beyond other professions. The Code of Ethics has been drafted to address intellectual property, personal relationships and  the impact of social media.