More than four out of every 10 public school employees nationwide are education support professionals (ESPs) who work together with teachers and administrators to help ensure the basic right of every child to attend great public schools.
“Education support professionals are essential partners in providing great public schools,” notes Scott McGilvray, president of NEA New Hampshire. “National ESP Day is a good time to celebrate the contributions ESPs make to our community every day.”
Education support professionals are often the first people our schoolchildren encounter on a daily basis. They are the people who drive our children to school, help them cross the street, provide them a nutritious meal, and keep their school buildings clean and safe. ESPs are the unsung heroes of public education. It’s time we recognize their hard work and expertise by telling them ‘thank you.’”
Education support professionals perform a variety of jobs that promote quality education, foster positive learning environments, provide nutritious meals, and maintain safe and clean schools for all students
ESPs are educated and well-trained. ESPs have made significant personal accomplishments in education. More than two in five (42%) have an associate’s or more advanced degree.
Sixty-five percent (65%) of support professionals take or have taken college courses. Forty-six percent (46%) take or have taken job-related classes. Forty-two percent (42%) have special certificates. Thirty percent (30%) regularly take classes or exams to strengthen and improve their work on the job.
ESPs are committed. Eighty-two percent (82%) of ESPs plan to stay in the profession. Sixty-seven percent (67%) plan to stay with their current jobs until they retire. They have an average of 10.8 years with their current employer.
ESPs are experienced. On average, education support professionals have been employed in the field for 12 years. Thirty percent (30%) of ESPs have more than 15 years of experience.
ESPs live in their school districts. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of support professionals live in the school districts where they work.
ESPs care deeply for students and their success.
A major source of support professionals’ job satisfaction is the personal fulfillment they get from working with students. Fifty-three percent (53%) of ESPs provide care to students with special needs. Sixty-one percent (61%) give money out of their own pockets to help students with things such as classroom materials, field trips, and class projects, averaging $163 per year.
ESPs save school districts thousands. By keeping at-risk, special need, and vulnerable students in-district and in the classroom, ESPs allow school districts and communities to avoid paying for their education in private settings.