Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Michiganders mourn the loss of four students after this week's school shooting at Oxford High School, and SCOTUS Justices signal willingness to back a Mississippi abortion prohibition law.

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The Supreme Court debates abortion rights; Stacey Abrams will again run to be Georgia's governor; and Congress scrambles to avoid a shutdown.

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Seniors in non-urban areas struggle with hunger disproportionately; rural communities make a push for federal money; and Planned Parenthood takes a case to the Montana Supreme Court.

Support Staff Celebrated During American Education Week

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021   

SEATTLE -- This is American Education Week, and the celebration Wednesday focuses on education support professionals (ESPs).

The work of ESPs in schools includes clerical support, maintenance, security and paraeducators. They work in the K-12 system as well as higher education.

Janie White, vice president of the Washington Education Association and a former ESP, said ESPs have been critical during the pandemic, even when schools shut down.

"Our ESPs are the first responders, so they never left the building," White recounted. "They have been there to make sure that our students have hot meals, our families have hot meals. And transportation worked with nutrition services to deliver the food."

White pointed out transportation workers also delivered the technology students needed to work remotely and custodians ensured buildings stayed clean throughout the pandemic. She encouraged folks to show their appreciation for ESPs Wednesday.

She also wanted to ensure ESPs are supported by districts, noting they are often the first staff members to be cut when schools tighten their belts.

"We have to make sure that the funding that the state brings forward to our schools and our districts; that we have compensation for our ESPs because the majority of our ESPs are the lowest-paid employees in the district," White stated.

White added teachers and ESPs are a team working for students.

"We work together to make our kids get the full tools they need to be equipped for the work that they do," White emphasized. "Fully equipped human beings. That's our goal."

Other celebrations for American Education Week include Family Day Tuesday and Substitute Educators Day Friday.


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