Maryland teachers are focused on support professionals and what they are calling their “Education Support Professionals (ESP) Bill of Rights.”
At the October 25 meeting of the State Board of Education, the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) — the state’s teacher union — testified on the issues most pressing for Maryland teachers ahead of the 2023 legislative session. MSEA has a strong presence in Annapolis and Maryland politics.
At the forefront of MSEA’s advocacy will be what it’s coining an “Education Support Professionals (ESP) Bill of Rights.” On Twitter, MSEA said, “Education support professionals (ESPs) across MD are being asked to do more—too often without the resources they need and the compensation they deserve. Now ESP members are staking claim to respect and fair pay with a new ESP Bill of Rights.”
At the October 25 meeting, MSEA President Cheryl Bost named paraeducators, janitorial, and cafeteria staff, as some of the ESP the organization will highlight and focus on. She also noted that the General Assembly’s provision of one-time bonuses for paraeducators “is not enough” and suggested it was one of the reasons for the group’s focus on its ESP Bill of Rights.
Of particular focus for MSEA will be:
- Securing a living wage for all ESPs;
- Granting retirement benefits and making years of service count;
- Ensuring affordable healthcare for ESPs;
- Promoting safe and healthy work environments;
- Accessing paid leave for ESPs;
- Addressing work load and staffing issues;
- Granting due process and increasing job security for ESPs;
- Providing career advancement and professional development for ESPs;
- Preventing privatization of education jobs in all categories; and
- Enabling EPSs to participate in collective bargaining.