Archives For Media

I have been a guidance counselor for ten years. I have always believed in the power and promise of public education, a promise gone unfulfilled for so many.

Every student has a right to education but the type of education received depends on whether teachers, students and parents have ownership over their schools.

Leia Petty

I became a guidance counselor at a time when the profession was changing from academic advisement to an increased awareness that social emotional health is critical to academic success. More counselors in schools means that access to social emotional learning also becomes a right for all students.

The daily trauma and oppression faced my most students cannot be overcome merely through academic opportunity, it must be addressed through increased mental health supports in schools, access to reproductive healthcare in schools and more social workers working with families. The most challenging part of my job is witnessing the suffering that students and parents endure with the current punitive model imposed on most public schools.

Students and parents need support and community, not suspensions and risk of arrest. I believe that there are opportunities now to increase restorative justice approaches and to fight for more counselors and less cops in schools.

Los Angeles teachers just led and won a successful strike that addressed teacher working conditions along with demands to end random searches of students at the hands of the police.

For far too long, the interests of parents, students and teachers have been pitted against each other within schools.

I am running with the MORE caucus because I believe that needs to change. And I believe that with the current teacher’s rebellion, it is already beginning to change.

44740273_10157857191523098_2631507426964144128_n

The current leadership in the UFT does not have the courage to see this struggle through. They have been in power for decades and are resistant to change at a time when change is needed most.

There are currently more school safety agents in public schools than counselors. These priorities must change immediately and I am excited to be part of a social justice caucus working with parents and students to make this a reality.

We all deserve MORE.

-Leia Petty

 

 

Click here to view the PDF version of this post, or scroll through it below.

There they go again.

The newspapers are filling their pages with stories about “bad teachers”. The mayor is on the airwaves complaining about the UFT and City Hall is suing the Union.

Sound familiar?

It’s all part of this mayoral administration’s continued push to transform the profession of teaching into an ‘at-will’ job, so that it can fire as many of us as it would like.

They would all like everyone to believe (including our new soon-to be mayor) that this system is just filled-to-the-brim with bad teachers who are harming kids and holding back our students from achieving true success.

As their hope goes, if they can just convince New Yorkers that this is actually true -if they could somehow get the voting public to focus and concentrate only on the 1.9% of city teachers who have faced termination hearings- then maybe, just maybe, they would be able to institute sweeping reforms that would affect all city teachers -including the other 98.1% who have not faced hearings- and end an important right for city teachers. That is the right to be fired through the impartial ruling of an independent hearing officer, rather than by the whims of an education department whose headquarters has been bereft of actual educators for well over a decade.

It’s the same tired old song playing all over again. They drag a few of our colleagues out on the pages of the newspapers and offer no facts (other than the facts which the administration wishes the newspapers to print) about their actual “infractions”. They hold these people up as an example of our “terrible” job protections and hope that the public begins disliking their teachers as much as they dislike their politicians.

If some semblance of public concern grows over this issue, they’ll march themselves up to Albany and ask the legislature to change the law that has, for many decades now, dictated how teachers are fired. The NYS Senate may well vote yes (because the Mayor has donated millions to the campaigns coffers of the Republicans who control that house) and they will all complain when the Assembly votes no.

We at MORE have heard this song before and we are aware that it’s just a little too “out of tune” to be truthful – we know just where the sour notes are coming from. We’d like you to consider a few facts as you read the salacious newspaper articles over the next few weeks and do what you can do to make sure that concerned people in your building are aware of them too:

Continue Reading…