Better pay for paraeducators

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“Like paralegals and paramedics, paraeducators (ed techs) are respected members of the professional (educational) team, who work alongside, under the supervision of a licensed/certificated educator to support and assist in providing instructional and other services to children.” (source: National Education Association)

According to the NEA, paraeducators help school districts deliver quality education the community demands. Everyone benefits from the work of paraeducators — students, teachers, administrators, other members of the education team, parents and school board members.

Teachers and other licensed, certificated education team members, such as speech-language pathologists and occupational and physical therapists, find that paraeducators can play an invaluable role in supporting their work.

That allows teachers to offer more differentiated instruction and students benefit from the individualized attention that paraeducators provide.

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Parents have yet another reason to feel secure that their children are receiving a quality education when trained paraeducators are in the school as part of the education team. Parents appreciate the individualized attention and support their children receive from paraeducators.

School board members and local administrators find that paraeducators help them make more effective use of public funds while maintaining quality standards in their schools. Paraeducators extend the functions and flexibility of the team.

Do we love our children enough to pay fair, decent wages for invaluable educational service? Do we not owe it to our children to pay a better wage for retainment of quality paraeducators, whom we hold to a better standard?

I hope others will join me in support of better pay for paraeducators.

Laurie Hearne, Lewiston

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