Quality and diversity in the educator workforce are critical ingredients to student success. Washington has an opportunity to elevate those ingredients in the 2020 legislative session by making a strategic investment in the professional development of paraeducators subject to legislatively required training. See below for our 2020 supplemental budget request (decision package).
Supporting our students means investing in our paraeducators
The Legislature must invest $39.6 million in fiscal year 2021 to fully fund the paraeducator certificate program, which includes the fundamental course of study and the general paraeducator certificate.
Paraeducators are critical members of a student’s learning and instructional support team. This team includes teachers, school counselors, administrators, the student’s family, and the community. Many of our state’s paraeducators are the primary instructional support for our most vulnerable student populations. To ensure students have access to highly-trained paraeducators who can support their learning needs, paraeducators must have ongoing professional learning focused on the standards of practice for their profession. Funding for ongoing professional development includes fully funding the Fundamental Course of Study. The Fundamental Course of Study, combined with coursework toward completion of the General Paraeducator Certificate, will increase paraeducators’ capacity to serve all students, particularly those who need them most.
The Legislature is heavily invested in ensuring that all instructional paraeducators receive training to support Washington’s diverse student populations. If the Legislature fully funds this program, all paraeducators, both new hires and those currently employed, must complete the four day (28 hours) Fundamental Course of Study. Once this training is met, paraeducators are then required to complete an additional 70 hours of professional development within three years. This training will not happen without full funding of the paraeducator certificate program.
This investment will provide high quality paraeducator support in every classroom to help meet the needs of Washington’s most diverse and vulnerable student populations.
We have, in close collaboration with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction submitted a decision package that outlines our 2020 legislative budget request.
- Paraeducator pilot program final report (November 2019)