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We're speaking up for our students and public schools. Visit our Action Center to find out what you can do.
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Issue Explainer

Education Support Professionals

Education Support Professionals play vital roles inside and outside the classroom. They keep schools and campuses running and ensure students are safe, healthy, and ready to learn.
photo of Latina educator holding a clipboard in front of a bus
Published: December 2, 2021

One out of three public school employees is an Education Support Professional.

Education Support Professionals work in nine career fields:

  • Clerical service
  • Custodial and maintenance service
  • Food service
  • Health and student service
  • Paraeducators
  • Security service
  • Skilled trade
  • Technical service
  • Transportation service

They need the resources and tools to work with teachers on promoting student achievement, keeping students safe, and cultivating a positive school climate that makes learning and growth possible.

Letters & Testimony

NEA speaks up for the rights of students. Browse recent messages to Congressional leadership, and add your voice.

Bills in Congress

Learn NEA's position on pending legislation related to public education, and take action to protect our schools

Lakila Bedeau
“We empower students by removing non-academic barriers, encouraging them to explore career opportunities and reach their full potential. We build critical relationships that ensure students are safe and successful regardless of their socio-economic status.”
Quote by: Lakilia Bedeau, Director of the Tornado Alley Youth Services Center at Paducah Tilghman High School

Recent Victory


Honoring ESPs with a New Award

Congress overwhelmingly passes, and Pres. Obama signs into law, the Recognizing Achievement in Classified Employees Act. The law created an annual program to acknowledge the work of outstanding Education Support Professionals in K-12 schools and higher education.

We Love our ESP

ESP Professional Growth Continuum

Key Facts About ESPs

Education Support Professionals are critical members of the K-12 and Higher-ed public education workforce.
photo of two female food service workers in a cafeteria

ESP Professional Growth

To ensure a great public education for every student, education support professionals (ESPs) want and deserve high-quality professional development and supports at every stage of their careers
Custodians are critical to re-opening schools

Stopping Privatization

No matter their age, from Pre-K to higher ed, our students benefit when all educators—janitorial staff, paraeducators, and college professors alike—are treated like the professionals they are.
We're speaking up for our students and public schools. Visit our Action Center to find out what you can do.

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Jump to updates, opportunities, and resources for NEA state and local affiliates.
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Speak Up For Students and Public Schools

When we act together and lift our voices together in unison, we can improve the lives of children.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.