This letter is to highlight the deplorable state of the education system. I have been a certificated educational assistant for 18 years. The students I help educate and support have many complex needs that range from medical to psychological with severe behaviour challenges.
Last week I was given a letter by the Greater St Albert Catholic Regional School Division, stating that next year my full-time job of 32.5 has been reduced to 16.25. I am a single income household. I raised my children as a single mother with my hard-earned wages from this school division. I can tell you that I feel undervalued and left wondering if the career that I have poured my heart and soul into will be able to sustain my livelihood.
I am heartsick and worried about the young students that rely on me to help them have successful days that leave them feeling that they are loved and supported in this world.
At this moment I am struggling to feel valued or respected by a system that is putting our new generation at great risk. Underfunding schools will put many amazing educators under such stress that they will need mental health leaves and have an impossible task of overfull classes with many diverse needs that will be impossible to support.
If more funding is not forthcoming I will not be able to live on my part-time position and will have to work in an unrelated field that is not my life’s calling. I will be paid less, stressed more, and the children I support and love will fall through the cracks and never reach their full potential of a society that doesn’t value or care about special needs children or the school employees.
Without a fully-funded education system to support our staff and students our future as a society is sadly doomed.