WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) introduced the Paraprofessionals and Education Support Staff Resolution, calling for living wages, good benefits, and fair working conditions for paraeducators, classroom assistants, bus drivers, custodial workers, and others who are vital to our education system.

As of 2023, there were approximately 12,000 paraeducators across Connecticut working with an annual salary of about $27,000. According to a 2022 EdWeek survey, a third of paraprofessionals say they work two or more jobs—with the additional jobs typically outside of education. Additionally, more than a quarter of paraprofessionals say they cannot afford to live in the community where they work, and some workers say they have had to rely on government or community assistance to support themselves or their families.

“I can speak with fidelity to the benefit of having paraprofessionals and support staff in our schools. Their support and assistance are invaluable to student learning. These staff members play a vital role in the success of students and the school community, yet struggle to make ends meet,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “The Paraprofessionals and Education Support Staff Resolution urges the need for improved wages, better access to benefits, and recognizes the efforts of these dedicated workers. This legislation aims to attract and retain support staff in our schools.”

“For too long, we have asked paraprofessionals and education support staff to do too much with too little,” said Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA). “We have asked them to educate, feed, transport, and support students in their path to grow, learn, and thrive – all without the pay, benefits, and job security they deserve. My Paraprofessionals and Education Support Staff Bill of Rights is a call for action to provide these workers with the dignity, respect, and recognition that they have long deserved. Well-paid, well-treated, union staff make stronger schools and stronger communities.”

Senator Markey introduced the Paraprofessionals and Education Support Staff Resolution in the Senate.

The resolution would call for paraprofessionals and education support staff to have:

  • Livable, competitive wages, and access to benefits, including health care and paid leave;
  • The supplies, resources, and training they need to do their jobs;
  • A meaningful voice in workplace policies and the right to negotiate for better working conditions;
  • The dignity of safe, healthy, and adequate staffed workplaces; and
  • Year-round job security and opportunities for growth.

Read the full text of the bill here.

"Education Support Professionals strengthen our schools and communities by making sure our students are safe, healthy and ready to learn every day. Right now, they don’t get nearly the compensation, benefits or support they deserve. By passing the Paraprofessional and Education Support Staff Bill of Rights resolution, Congress will show they recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions these dedicated workers make every day – both inside and outside the classroom,” said National Education Association (NEA) President Becky Pringle. We want to thank Representative Hayes for her leadership in introducing this key legislation, and we urge Congress to act swiftly in passing it to demonstrate to our Education Support Professionals that, as a nation, we respect and value all they do for our students."

“Paraprofessionals and education support staff make our schools and colleges work and are often on the front lines of caring for students, helping them learn, and keeping them safe. But too often, their pay and benefits are far lower than other educators, leaving many to struggle to care for their own families. The Paraprofessional and Education Support Staff Bill of Rights makes sure the important folks who cook, clean, drive, work in front offices and assist in classrooms are treated with dignity and respect, and offered the resources, training, and career ladders to make these more sustainable professions,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation for Teachers. “I am grateful to Rep. Hayes for introducing the House version of S. Res. 450, because as a former teacher, Rep. Hayes knows schools and colleges could not meet the needs of students and families without paraprofessionals, registrars, IT professionals and other school and college staff.”

Endorsers: National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Connecticut Education Association (CEA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (ALF-CIO), Latinos for Education, National Rural Education Association (NREA), NREA Coalition, Autism Society of America, Citizens for Public Schools, Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), Network for Public Education, Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), First Focus on Children, National Urban League, and Arc of the United States.