MONTPELIER – Teachers across the state have been asking for more support from para-educators, even as the budgets for paras has been slashed at both the state and local levels. Now, thanks to an increase in special funding from the federal government, Vermont schools will be getting new paras this year that they won’t have to fund locally.
“We did ask for more funding for paras,” said 4th grade teacher Eva Werkt, “and it’s nice that they’re using their listening ears, but maybe we should have been more specific. I’m not sure what a soldier trained in combat is going to do here, honestly. This is a 4th grade classroom in 2018. It’s far worse than anything they’ve been exposed to.”
The paras will be deployed to individual classrooms, with a small percentage of them stationed in planes and helicopters that will circle over the state’s many schools. In the event of an emergency, such as an active shooter situation or talking in the hallways, the paras would drop down into the trouble zone and provide for the special needs of the children at that time.
“We’re very hopeful that this will solve many of the flaws in our educational system,” Gov. Scott told press during the announcement. “There is a lot of excitement around this program, and I know Vermont’s fine educators will appreciate having the paras around. I am aware that these are not exactly the paras they were looking for, and we considered many options, including para-legals, which were unfortunately cost prohibitive. But there is tremendous excitement for this. President Trump himself was the first one to sign up to be a Vermont paratrooper, but sadly had to excuse himself from duty immediately due to bone spurs in his wings. And before you ask, yes, he has a doctor’s note.”
The new paras are expected to join teaching teams starting this fall.