Educating students in the COVID-19 era is the hardest thing that public schools have ever done. It is hard for students, for parents and for educators. We anxiously await the day when we can all safely return to our schools in person. Until that day, we must continue to rely on guidance from medical experts and local input from educators, parents and elected officials in determining whether, when and how to reopen school buildings in their communities.
Educators are committed to working harder than ever to make pandemic education successful this year — and we celebrate them. In that spirit, please join us as we celebrate American Education Week, which will run from Monday, Nov. 16, to Friday, Nov. 20.
American Education Week is an annual celebration that gives schools and communities an opportunity to honor the people who are committed to making sure that every student receives a quality education.
Back in 1919, distressed that 25 percent of the country's World War I draftees could not read or write and that 9 percent were physically unfit, the National Education Association and the American Legion co-founded AEW to raise public awareness about the importance of education.
One day during the week is set aside each year to honor Education Support Professionals. National ESP Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, Nov. 18. This year the MTA will celebrate ESPs by keeping attention focused on the MTA PreK-12 ESP Bill of Rights, the result of work by an MTA ESP task force that studied and reported on the challenges that ESPs face and launched a multiyear plan to strengthen preK-12 ESP contracts across the Commonwealth.
“ESPs are essential workers who help all of our students succeed — and yet they have been underpaid and underappreciated for far too long,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “The ESP Bill of Rights is a first step toward strengthening bargaining positions and uniting ESPs across all districts in the struggle for a living wage and the respect they deserve.”
The following is the full schedule for American Education Week:
Monday, Nov. 16, is Kickoff Day. This is a day to spotlight excellence in public education. Schools often host virtual kickoff events and activities to highlight the importance of public education.
Tuesday, Nov. 17, is Parents’ Day. Normally, parents are invited into schools for a firsthand look at what it means to be an educator. This year, educators will be using remote means to celebrate their partnership with parents and other family members who contribute to the success of students.
Wednesday, Nov. 18, is Education Support Professionals Day, as noted above. ESP Day celebrates people who create the environment necessary for students to succeed. Lift up the ESPs in your local on social media by using the hashtag #WeLoveOurESPs and tagging @massteacher. Go here for more information about National ESP day.
Thursday, Nov. 19, is dedicated to the NEA’s Educator for a Day program. Under normal circumstances, the program allows people from the community to experience an entire day as a teacher, ESP or other school worker. This year, consider virtual alternatives to enhance understanding and demonstrate the successes and challenges that educators face.
Friday, Nov. 20, is Substitute Educators Day — a time to give thanks to substitute educators, who play a vital role in maintaining continuity in the classroom.