Regina Richardson is a special education instructional assistant in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. She is also the Education Support Professional representative on the Arlington ...
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Regina Richardson is a special education instructional assistant in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. She is also the Education Support Professional representative on the Arlington Education Association board of directors.
On July 31, a steaming hot day in Washington, Richardson and her friend and colleague Tanya Dunbar joined thousands of other educators in the “Save Our Schools” march calling for equitable funding for public schools and an end to high-stakes testing like the tests used to determine whether schools are making “adequate yearly progress” under the so-called “No Child Left Behind” law.
“I went to the march because I wanted to be included with teachers in this fight,” Richardson said.
“No Child Left Behind is leading kids, including many of the special education students I work with, to drop out of school if they find they can’t pass the test. But not all kids are on same level. Some of them can’t pass.”
She added, “I wish members of Congress would switch jobs with us for a day. Would they succeed? I don’t think so.”
Richardson is working with Dunbar and other Arlington ESPs to increase ESP membership in the Arlington Education Association and involve more ESPs in the work of the Association. She wants to organize an working committee representing all categories of ESPs, because “one person can’t represent everybody.”
Richardson originally became an instructional assistant because her own children were in public schools. “I thought I would try to work where they were,” she said, and she’s glad she did, because “I love the job, I love the children I work with, and I have a love of learning.”
This year, she was named Employee of the Year among the instructional assistants in all 25 Arlington schools.
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