Yesterday, the House Education committee heard SB 5070, PSE’s paraeducator bill. After hearing from bill sponsor, Senator Ann Rivers, supporters and opponents continued the debate that has been going on this session (as well as the last two sessions). Arguments from both haven’t changed. Supporters like Cassandra Sage from the Washington State PTA and Arzu Forough from the Washington Autism Advocacy Association explained how paraeducators who provide daily instruction needed state standards and training because of the critical role they play helping students succeed, especially students who need additional assistance to succeed in school and life.
Opponents continued to argue of their fears that paraeducators would not be able to pay for training and were likely to be fired.
I responded by saying if anyone would be fired it would be me for setting paraeducators up for failure. Instead, I explained that if the training was too expensive or took too much time, we would gladly extend the three year timeline just like the legislature is doing with an 18 month extension for deaf and hard of hearing interpreters in SB 5142, which is passing easily this session.