Suzanne Wells Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – Nov 16 2022

My name is Suzanne Wells, and I am the president of the Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization.

I am testifying this evening about the need to increase the salaries of Educational Aides in DCPS, school-based technology, and librarians.

Based on information from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 2921, the pay scale for a new Educational Aide (EG/DS-04, Step 1) in 2021 was $16.62. After ten years of service, the pay of an Educational Aide rises to only $21.16; a $4.54 increase. The starting salary of Educational Aides is only $0.52 above the minimum wage in DC.

According to DCPS’ Educational Aide job description, these positions require the educational aide on a daily basis to work with students individually and in small groups, reinforce daily lessons, motivate learning, assess progress, and assist with classroom management. An educational aide is a partner with the classroom teacher in implementing the daily lesson plans, and reinforces student learning. Educational aides seamlessly move into the teacher position when the classroom teacher is absent. All of these tasks are important to helping students perform at their grade level, and to narrowing the achievement gap.

I have been substituting for DCPS since 2016. When students returned to in-person instruction in 2021, I began substituting almost full time because the need for substitutes was so great. During this time, I have substituted primarily as an educational aide because schools have had the most difficulty filling these positions. The low salaries are the primary reason people are not attracted to the position. The educational aides I have worked with are professional and dedicated to the students. DCPS should raise their salaries in SY24 to be commensurate with their responsibilities.

DCPS has made significant progress in recent years in achieving a 1:1 device to student ratio. Our organization fully supports the testimony of Digital Equity in DC Education. We urge DCPS to fund a robust device refresh cycle, resolve issues with Smartboard installations, provide school-level funding for asset

management and IT support, and integrate digital literacy in the classroom curriculum.

Finally, our organization fully supports funding a librarian at every school, and providing funds to purchase books. Certified librarians and robust book collections support a love of reading, enhance student learning, and bring equity across schools.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.


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