To the Editor:

Have you ever taught Special Education? Have you ever looked for your right arm?

Well thatֱs what a para educator is in a classroom. Iֱve personally taught special education for the past 25 years and my ֱright armֱ has always been my para educator, or ESP, or educational assistant whatever you want to call them.

For me the job of my para educator was to assist in a classroom with myself and the special education students. My para educators worked with small groups in all subject areas, (right arm), covering if the teacher needs to go to a meeting, (right arm), continuing lessons where the teacher leaves off when the teacher is called out, (right arm), and sometimes covering as the substitute teacher, (right arm). These are just some of the ֱjobsֱ of being a para educator. I do not have enough space to cover all the additional responsibilities they have.

Now you might be wondering why Iֱm writing this piece, (other than to praise, and thank all my para educators) here are some of my other reasons:

My friends cannot live on the wages they are paid.

They cannot afford their own apartments.

They make too much money to receive assistance, yet they do not make enough money to survive independently.

They fight for fair wages, while still working daily, caring for our children.

We fight with you for those fair wages and will continue to stand by you until something changes.

Sari Joffre


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