It’s Time to Grant Equity & Parity for School Occupational Therapists
Right now, there is a huge push for equity in education. In NY, the state education department wants to strengthen and diversify the educator pipeline. This initiative is meant to diversify the teacher workforce, so it’s more reflective of our student population.
The New York State United Teacher’s Women’s Committee also strives to recruit more women into leadership roles in NY.
In general, everyone is looking at ways to increase equity everywhere.
Isn’t that great?
There’s still one area that needs major reform and careful consideration. The pathways to school leadership positions in NY are in desperate need of revision.
In NY, a school dental hygiene teacher or a school attendance teacher can work their way up the education ladder to become a school leader.
Most people know that teachers, speech language pathologists, guidance counselors, psychologists and social workers are eligible to become school leaders, too.
But the thing that desperately needs to change is that school Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are NOT allowed to pursue school leadership positions.
So a dental hygiene teacher or a school attendance teacher are allowed to be a superintendent, but an OT or PT isn’t. CRAZY. AND WRONG.
- NY is facing a shortage of school administrators.
- NYSED is looking to increase diversity and equity in our education system.
- NYSUT wants to recruit more female school leaders.
- 97% of occupational therapy professionals are female.
- A school dental hygiene teacher or a school attendance teacher is eligible to become a school leader.
- A school OTp or PT, aka specialized instructional support personnel (SISPs), is NOT eligible to become a school leader.
Increasing diversity can be about more than just race and gender. There’s also work experience, educational background, and other unique qualifications. Occupational therapists are trained in childhood development, mental health, group dynamics, and sociology. Our background knowledge and work experience with general and special education students and staff make us well-rounded and qualified educators.
We deserve parity with other educated school professionals. It’s time, NY.
Let’s expand our idea of diversity to include educational background and work experience.