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Job & Career Security

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.
Teacher and paraeducator team

From Phoenix to Fargo, we all want our schools to be safe environments that foster learning and creativity.  

For primary and secondary schools, this means students have:

  • safe, reliable transportation to and from school,  
  • a healthy, nutritious meal, and  
  • clean classrooms.  

And for students in postsecondary schools, it means ensuring academic freedom.

But unfortunately, some greedy politicians tighten school budgets to pay for tax cuts for their wealthy donors. This forces administration officials to cut corners by privatizing services like buses, janitorial duties, and food service. When this happens, the school and community lose control and employees often lose rights, pay, and benefits. In the end students lose the most.

We are coming together to fight privatization and ensure job and career security for all educators.

In postsecondary environments, institutions are increasingly using part-time faculty, misusing temporary or “rolling” contracts, extending probationary periods, and establishing tenure quotas. These anti-tenure practices are dangerous to academic freedom, and again, ultimately hurt student learning.  

We are coming together to fight privatization and ensure job and career security for all educators.

  • Affiliate staff can advise you and stand with you to defend yourself with full access to all the legal and liability protections afforded to NEA members—this includes providing legal assistance if warranted.  
  • NEA’s Educators Employment Liability program protects all association members—whether classroom teachers or support professionals—from personal financial liability for most incidents arising out of their educational employment activities or duties. The program is a benefit of membership and there for you if you need it.  

If you are faced with an action related to your employment—suspension, termination, disciplinary action, transfers, certificate revocation, lawsuit by student or parent, job-related or Department of Human Resources charges—the first and immediate action is to contact your local UniServ Director.

Privatization of Education Support Professionals 

When public school employees, especially education support professionals (ESPs) are “privatized” or “outsourced,” a private contractor takes over their services and they may no longer have access to the same rights, pay, and benefits they received as a public school employee—including union advocacy. 

How does privatization cause problems for ESPs and schools?

  • When ESP jobs are privatized, the primary goal becomes making a profit versus delivering a quality service.
  • Private contractors may or may not use former district employees to provide the service.
  • Whatever contracts, agreements, understandings, or board policies that existed between the district and their employees no longer exists between the new private contractor and his/her employees.
  • ESPs won’t have the advocacy of the Association under the new employer.
  • Privatizers don't underprice at-cost public employees simply by being “efficient” or having “superior management techniques.” Privatizers function by significantly reducing employee compensation, usually through the elimination or reduction of benefits such as pension, health care, and paid time off.
  • Because of their employment practices in the pursuit of profit, privatizers have high turnover of staff. Most of the time these are people looking for a job, not a career. And the privatizer is typically not concerned about who might be well suited to work around children.
Sample contract language Need assistance?

Job & Career Security for Paraeducators

Across the country, thousands of paraeducators are denied basic job security. Many districts employ paraeducators year to year, and while most are hired back the following school year, their jobs are not renewed annually. This leaves paraeducators to face uncertainty as the future of their jobs falls into the discretion of their district.
NEA believes that districts should budget for paraeducators in the same way as they do for other faculty and staff positions. If a district is facing a budget issue, then a negotiated process would be necessary to carry out a Reduction in Force (RIF).

Sample contract language

Tenure Matters in Higher Education

Tenure inspires innovation and protects academic freedom, and NEA and its affiliates are working hard to defend and expand it. 
The NEA statement on tenure “affirms that academic and intellectual freedom in institutions of higher education are best protected and promoted by tenure, academic due process, and faculty self-governance. Such protection is enhanced by including—where possible—these items in a collectively bargained contract enforced by binding arbitration.”

Increasingly, institutions are excessively using part-time faculty, misusing temporary or “rolling” contracts, extending probationary periods, and establishing tenure quotas. These anti-tenure practices are dangerous to academic freedom. 

Need Assistance?

NEA provides ongoing support for local and state affiliates facing privatization, including preventative measures and crisis campaigns. Let us know how we can help!
Ashanti Rankin
When I first got involved with my union, I quickly learned how the union supports education support professionals, like me. NEA’s ESP Growth Continuum, for example, creates a pathway for growth where I’m able to master my profession—and remain in it.
Quote by: Ashanti Rankin, Middle School Paraprofessional, New Jersey Education Association

Bargaining for the Common Good

Together, we can improve student learning and the educational environment, like smaller class size, fewer standardized tests, more recess and art and music classes, and additional counselors.
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.