Jose Mares, Othello special education paraeducator, with only a couple hours to prepare, did a great job representing PSE and all paraeducators at last night’s House Appropriations Committee hearing. He did such a good job I am providing you his testimony in writing and as he gave it. Thanks Jose for stepping up!
Here’s his reaction and testimony:
Does increasing your word count really make you sound more convincing? Sometimes, but not typically. Finding the right words to articulate your opinions is a lot more important than trying to fill empty silences. But being concise and still managing to hit all your marks can prove to be an uphill struggle. Even more so when you have to testify before a committee of elected officials. I find myself reading and rewriting everything, to refine my words. I aim to leave only the vital pieces of information that are necessary to convey my point of view. Everything else is excess, unnecessary and can be cut out. Yesterday I had the honor of speaking before the House Appropriations committee to share my thoughts on funding 4 days of training every year for Paraeducators in the state of washington. Iencourage everyone in Washington and in our communities to share their own stories. Your testimony has the power to support legislation impacting the lives of Washingtonians directly. Below is my testimony:
“Hello Mr. Chair and Members of the committee, my name is Jose Eduardo Mares Dominguez. I am a Special Education Paraeducator from Othello, WA. I was excited to see that Washington was putting forward legislation to get 4 days of training each year for paraeducators in our state. I am disappointed to see that this is no longer the case because I feel that training is something that our Paraeducators need. In a district where we have a population where 89% of students are hispanic latino, 41% are english language learners, and 14% have some form of learning or cognitive disability, extra hands in the classroom are necessary to adequately engage students and provide them with the support necessary to succeed. Certified teachers are already struggling to engage every student. Without proper training Paraeducators, struggle to help carry that burden. They have not been trained on how to handle difficult situations when dealing with students who have disabilities like Autism or Down’s syndrome. People are being hurt all the time and it is because they lack the training to deal with difficult situations. When I started working as a Paraeducator, there was a lot that I was left to figure out on my own. Providing 4 days of training a year for our Paraeducators will allow them to be better instructors in the classroom and will help our students succeed in areas where they, otherwise, would fall through the cracks. Thank You.”