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ESPs in Review

Job Categories
Paraeducators, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, clerical staff, security officers, nurses, therapists, and others in technology, public relations, and machine operations are organized within nine NEA ESP (K—12) job groups. Paraeducators and clerical service workers are the largest groups. There is a 10th Category for higher-ed ESPs.

By John Rosales

Hitting Some High Numbers in 2009

When education support professionals convene for the 2009 NEA ESP Conference (March 13—15 in Orlando, Florida) they will compare field notes about living wage campaigns and bargaining sessions. They will commiserate over encroaching privateers like Laidlaw and Sodexho. And they will do so without much fanfare. As the NEA ESP community comes within reach of their 500,000 member goal (they were at almost 500,000 last year), NEA Today would like to acknowledge—through facts and figures—their undeniable presence and profound contributions to our nation's schools. Find out more about ESPs.

Stats taken from the 2007 NEA ESP Data Book

The ESP Force
ESPs comprise approximately 17 percent of NEA’s 3.2 million members and about 43 percent of the K—12 workforce nationwide. Nearly 2.8 million support staff work in our nation's public schools, with 78 percent at the K—12 level and 22 percent in higher education. Many belong to the influential National Council for Education Support Professionals.

Percent of NEA Members

Percent of NEA Members

Percent of K—12 Workforce

Percent of K-12 Workforce

Percent working in all K-12 schools

Percent working in all K—12 schools

Percent working in all higher edication schools

Percent working in all higher education schools


Largest ESP States

Top 5 Locals by Membership


Number of ESPs



Number of ESPs

New York


United Federation of Teachers

New York


New Jersey


Education Support Employee Association



Michigan and Pennsylvania 


AFSCME Local 2250 (*affiliated with MSTA)



Florida, Illinois, and Alabama 


United Teachers of Dade




Mobile County ESP





Support Staff Stats
Salary 2006-07 average earnings for the full-time ESP work force:  $27,600 Average earnings for K—12 ESPs:
Age and Gender 87 percent of ESPs are female Average age: 49
Hours and Earnings 81 percent of full-time ESPs work 40 or more hours per week Average earnings for the nine ESP job groups: $17,068 - $48,451


Milestones and Events of Note


NEA establishes a special membership category for paraprofessionals. The name is subsequently changed to Education Support Personnel.


ESPs are voted full membership rights by the RA.


RA delegates pass resolutions that highlight the role of ESPs in enhancing the learning environment and education process.


NEA ESP of the Year is established. 


Iona Holloway, an elementary school teachers assistant from Louisiana, becomes the first ESP elected to the nine-member NEA Executive Committee.


RA delegates vote to officially change the term “Educational Support Personnel” to “Education Support Professional.”


RA delegates adopt a new ESP Quality Department.


20 ESPs comprise the inaugural class of NEA ESP Leaders for Tomorrow


Sandy Arseneault is an ESP who was voted president of the South Dakota Education Association in 2008.

Four ESPs are serving as vice presidents of their state Associations:

  • Steve Cook (MI)

  • Mike Hoffmann (DE)

  • Marty Meyer (ID)

  • Gail Rasmussen (OR)


Charts and graphs illustrations: Groff Creative, Inc.

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Published In


  • anc_dyn_linksOctober | November 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksAugust | September 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksMay 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksMarch | April 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksJanuary | February 2009