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New York’s Teachers Union Needs to Rethink How It ‘Supports’ Teachers

The beginning of the school year is a busy time for everyone and teachers feel it most acutely. Amidst all the surrounding excitement and anticipation, new initiatives, new kids, new parents, new colleagues, new schedules and a new curriculum lead to high intensity and a workload that requires tremendous energy, effort and time. The last thing teachers need is to be distracted or feel pressured by their union leaders to deviate from their mission. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening this Wednesday night in New York where teachers are being asked to protest an event because journalist Campbell Brown, who happens to have a different view on education policy, will be in attendance:
We need folks with signs, folks in boats, folks in kayaks, all around The Sagamore noting Public Education Works, Kids Matter.
The Business Council of New York is having its annual meeting Wednesday night and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) vice president Andy Pallotta, along with Alliance for Quality Education executive director Billy Easton, have signed a letter to legislators urging them to skip the event:
We ask that you cancel any plans to attend the opening reception and dinner of the New York State Business Council Annual meeting, and stand with public school students, parents and educators… Please support our great public schools, students and educators and do not cross this picket line.
Come on, guys. It’s the start of the school year. Picketing this event neither helps teachers get on solid footing nor does it help the millions of New York students who also need to stay grounded. The Business Council’s president and CEO, Heather Briccetti, seems to agree based on her response to the NYSUT letter.
It is ironic and troubling that just days into the school year the teacher’s union is asking its members to spend their energy trying to repress opposing views rather than focus on fixing the crisis in our schools.
Pallotta (assuredly with the blessing of president Karen Magee) is using his members to attack Campbell Brown when that’s the last thing they need to be doing. It’s a distraction and an added responsibility to an already full plate. How about supporting them in that endeavor instead?
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She blogs at School Matters.
Erika Sanzi
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She has served on her local school board in Cumberland, Rhode Island, advocated for fair school funding at the state level, and worked on campaigns of candidates she considers to be champions for kids and true supporters of great schools. She is currently a Fordham senior visiting ...

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