The President is reporting that the GDP is up, unemployment is historically low, and the economy is the best it’s ever been. Sadly, it is not great for 60% of American households who are not earning a livable wage for full-time work.
Many jobs are undervalued in our country, but for this blog entry I am going to focus on Special Education Para-professionals. As a Special Education Teacher of high school students with autism, I am dependent on para-professionals to carry out each student’s highly individualized educational program that requires one-to-one interaction.
These para-professionals are expected to professionally facilitate and implement intensive teaching sessions based in applied behavior analysis, discrete trial and verbal behavior techniques. They are expected to follow complex behavior plans and collect data in this evidence-based program. They also help students care for all their personal needs and at times sustain injuries when students become upset. Most importantly they bring love and understanding to these students everyday.
The implemented skills of these para-professionals can mean the difference between life in an institution or a life of self-determination and independence to one’s highest potential. WOW!
And these amazing people do NOT earn a LIVABLE WAGE! This is WRONG! Many have college degrees and most have to work two and three other part-time jobs to make ends meet. These are not slackers looking for a handout. These are caring and hard working people that deserve a livable wage.
Essential jobs, like these, need to pay a livable wage and our country needs to invest in education and training to help others fill job openings that need greater expertise. The booming economy should work for all Americans!