Being a teacher means mastering quite a few disciplines. Communication, innovation, empathy and you may not have thought of this one…ethics. In fact, educators come across ethical dilemmas almost every day…and how they deal with them affects students in profound ways. Not to mention themselves.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the co-author of a new book on educational ethics.

We’ll also spend an academic minute seeing if lapses in ethics can be blamed on your hormones.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

In February, a proposed zoning amendment to build an expansion onto Saratoga Hospital failed after two recusals from City Council members: John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts, and Mayor Joanne Yepsen. Yepsen has worked in the past as a fundraising consultant for the hospital, and Franck, a CPA by trade, has worked with private clients in the affected neighborhood.

Because of a successful petition filed by neighbors against the hospital expansion, the zoning amendment would require a vote of at least 4 to 1.

  But What If We’re Wrong? visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past.

Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? How seriously should we view the content of our dreams? How seriously should we view the content of television? Are all sports destined for extinction? Is it possible that the greatest artist of our era is currently unknown (or—weirder still—widely known, but entirely disrespected)? Is it possible that we “overrate” democracy? And perhaps most disturbing, is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?

Just Three Days To Go In Legislative Session

Jun 10, 2016
The Capitol
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

There are only three more days left in the legislative session in Albany, and lawmakers are talking with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo about a number of bills, but keeping details close to the vest.

Governor Andrew Cuomo at Elk Lake
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters during a visit to the Adirondacks today that he has not been subpoenaed as part of the investigation into two former aides. As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, the governor also tried to deflect any implication that he was directly aware of the staffers’ actions.

Governor Cuomo
Governor Cuomo

A spokesman for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo says the governor still plans to pursue an ethics reform package during the remainder of the legislative session, after news of a federal probe into actions by Cuomo’s former top aide and the governor’s ongoing economic development programs.

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

Prosecutors have asked a judge to send former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to prison for over a decade while his defense lawyers say he deserves little or no time behind bars.

The state capitol in Albany.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

New York's ethics commission says certain activities by media consultants constitute lobbying under state law and should be reported.

A new proposal by the state ethics commission that could restrict campaign donations is raising some questions.

After a brief hiatus, Albany’s ethics are once again in the media.  Last week, two Assemblymembers were sentenced to prison for their ethics crimes and Governor Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic development program was reported to be under scrutiny by federal prosecutors.

Blair Horner: Ethics Stays In The News

Aug 10, 2015

When Albany is in the dog days of summer, it is usually quiet at the state Capitol.  Lawmakers are doing whatever they do during the summer and, in recent decades, the governor is usually downstate.

Picture of Governor Peter Shumlin
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Unlike most states, Vermont does not have an ethics commission to review any questionable acts by state leaders and employees.  There have been a number of high-level moves at the top of Vermont government that have raised some eyebrows over the past few years.  That has led to a surge in calls for the creation of such a body.  This week Governor Peter Shumlin agreed.

4/1/15 Panel

Apr 1, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Professor, Rosemary Armao, and WAMC newsman, Ray Graf.

Scheduled topics include: Bills on ‘Religious Freedom’ in Arkansas and Indiana; Lufthansa knew of Andreas Lubitz's ‘severe depression;' Nuclear talks with Iran; New Ethics Disclosure Rules for New York Legislators; Trevor Noah Backlash.

3/17/15 Panel

Mar 17, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain and NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner.

Schedule topics include: Netanyahu on Palestinian State; US Oil Low; Schneiderman on Ethics; Putin Reappears; Iran on GOP Letter; Durst Charged with Murder.

Reform Group Says Ethics Changes Not Enough

Mar 12, 2015

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants ethics reform as part of the budget or he’ll hold up the state’s spending plan, while legislators say they want to negotiate the issue separately. Government reform groups say the key issue is that the reforms be real. 

2/23/15 Panel

Feb 23, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, SUNY at Albany journalism professor and investigative journalist, Rosemary Armao, and political consultant, Libby Post.

Topics include: Keystone Vote, Scott Walker, Rudy Giuliani, Mall Terror?, Oscars winners, and Cuomo on ethics.

Blair Horner: Ethics Reform Redux

Feb 9, 2015

In the old “Peanuts” cartoon, Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown and assures him that this time she really means it, she will hold the football and not pull it away.  So he should charge and kick the football.  And every year – despite having previously seen her pull the ball away at the last minute – Charlie believes her.

   Hampshire College has been awarded a five-year $2 million grant from a private family foundation to launch a new project on ethical engagement and leadership.  The Leadership and Ethical Engagement Project ( LEEP) will be a resource for local institutions and organizations with core operating principles that focus on the common good.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Hampshire College Dean of Curriculum and Assessment Laura Wenk.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is weighing in on the drama in the state Assembly, and is proposing reforms. Cuomo, in a speech at NYU law school on Monday, says he won’t be signing the state budget unless the legislature agrees to the changes.

    Chuck Klosterman, “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine, has walked into the darkness. In I Wear the Black Hat, he questions the modern understanding of villainy.

When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying, and why are we so obsessed with saying it? How does the culture of malevolence operate?

A state assemblyman from New York City has been charged by authorities with using his campaign funds for personal expenses.

NY Gov. Cuomo Achieves Partial Win on Agenda

Jun 19, 2013
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Deals have been reached between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders on siting new casinos and creating tax free zones at college campuses. But a bill on abortion rights was struggling, and reform measures appear dead for the session. 

The agreement on casinos would allow four resort style gambling centers; one in the Capital Region, one in the Southern Tier, and possibly two in the Catskills, if voters approve the change to the state’s constitution in the fall.     

Nassau and Suffolk Counties would  be allowed to open more slot machines, under the terms of the bill.

NEW YORK (AP) — Former state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. will spend five years in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud charges.

Espada was sentenced Friday in Brooklyn.

The once-influential politician also was convicted in a separate case alleging he looted taxpayer-subsidized health clinics.

It’s getting down to the wire for major pieces of legislation as the end of session approaches in Albany, including women’s rights and campaign finance reform. There are no agreements yet, but as Karen DeWitt reports, that’s not unusual in a government that operates on last minute deals.

Paul Elisha: Change

May 14, 2013

This Commentator had decided to devote his essay for today to the two documents which have hung above the desk in his work space, since they were awarded to him, by then Governor Mario M. Cuomo, for his participation and help in achieving major ethics legislation in New York State, on August 7th, 1987.  He was going to note how time and trials had wrought changes, which made these documents less important mementos of prior, experience and would then, perhaps, look forward to another time, for yet another, more important change.  This might even surpass what was then achieved, to legislate even more important advances in governmental ethics.  Alas, it now appears that this will not occur.

Board Of Elections Reform Seen As Key In Albany

Apr 22, 2013
Gov. Cuomo
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Anti-corruption proposals are proliferating in Albany, following two high-profile bribery scandals.  Some of them focus on the long-neglected State Board of Elections, which hasn’t even had an investigator on staff in over a year.

The State Board of Elections is supposed to make sure that elections run smoothly and that all the rules, including the campaign financing laws, are followed by candidates and their donors.

Dave Lucas

Government reform groups say they are pleased that New York Governor Cuomo has now proposed step one in his plan to clean up corruption in state government, following two high profile arrests of state lawmakers.

Barbara Bartoletti, with the League of Women Voters, says the governor’s proposal to give the state’s district attorneys more power to investigate and prosecute bribery cases is a good first step toward systematic reform.

Dave Lucas

New York Governor Cuomo and the state’s district attorneys are pushing for laws to make it easier to prosecute bribery and public corruption cases, in the wake of recent scandals in Albany.

The bills would make it easier for the state’s DA’s to prosecute cases of bribery, and politicians and others  involved in bribery schemes. It would also create a new crime of failure to report bribery. Anyone who does not blow the whistle if they discover potential corruption could be charged with a misdemeanor.

The New York Times Magazine's original "Ethicist" Randy Cohen helps readers locate their own internal ethical compasses as he delivers answers to life's most challenging dilemmas.

The latest round of financial disclosure forms from members of the New York State Legislature will be the last, before a new law begins that aims to open up even further the information the public and the press can view about the outside business dealings of state lawmakers.