Are Education Support Specialists Underpaid? You Decide..

Public schools couldn’t live without them, education support professionals. Many times these support professionals are referred to as paraprofessionals, teacher associates, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians and school secretaries. These people help schools to run smoothly, assist students throughout the school day, get kids to and from school safely and ensure that breakfast and lunch is healthy, hot, and the lunchroom stays organized.

The unfortunate thing about these positions is that they are often incredibly underpaid occupations. Many of the people in these positions often work more than one job throughout the year in order to support their families. Isn’t it a shame that someone who dedicates their lives to keeping children safe, assisting special needs students, assisting the school principal or feeding our children while they are at school; are so terribly underpaid?

Let me give you some examples of how underpaid these wonderful people are who do these much-needed jobs:

In Potosi, Wisconsin the living wage is over 11 dollars an hour. Teacher’s aides in this city make a little more than ten dollars an hour. Food servers make around the same while custodians make a little less than 11 dollars an hour.

In Pueblo, Colorado the living wage is a little over 13 dollars an hour. A teacher’s aide in this community makes less than eight dollars an hour, while bus drivers and custodians make a little more than nine dollars an hour. Must be hard to get by on those salaries when the wage needed just to live is a whole lot more than they make.

In Sussex County, Virginia the living wage is halfway between 12 and 13 dollars an hour. However, a custodian at a school in this area makes a little more than eight dollars an hour, a teacher’s aide or para makes a little over 11 dollars an hour and a secretary makes a bit more than 12 dollars an hour.

In Cascade, Washington the living wage is a little more than 16 dollars an hour, however, a secretary, a teacher’s aide and a custodian all make 12 dollars or less.

Are these positions underpaid to you? Do you agree that the public school systems should be paying people in these positions a bit more? After all, most of these jobs don’t even pay enough to keep these people paid so that they make the minimum living wage in their areas.

What do you all think?