Developing largely out of an awakened commitment to the ethical requirement that all individuals be provided with access to a decent public education, special education has had a strong ethical component from its inception. Because it challenges traditional organizational structures and the knowledge and skills of teachers, it has continued to engender many ethical dilemmas. Despite this fact, the ethics of special education has received scant attention, either as a field of ethical inquiry or as a topic in teacher education. This article characterizes the kinds of perspectives that go into establishing a general framework for ethical deliberation and then uses that framework to characterize the special role-related obligations that help define the ethics of special education. An extended example of the case method is used as the point of departure for the discussion, and cases illustrative of special ethical dilemmas in special education are presented.

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