- Posted September 29, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Obamacare: Your story
Left to Fade Away
Teaching Assistants, Instructional Aides, Paraprofessionals, whatever the title, the job has become more than helping teachers grade papers. As school districts bring those special needs students who were sent to out of district placement back to the local schools, financial being one reason, this results in many more needy students in the public school classroom. Since the majority of Instutional Assistants dealt with special needs students we were concerned with this population having consistancy in their school day. An issue most special education folks will tell you is very important. But, consistancy didn't seem to be an issue when it came to saving a few bucks for the district.
Since I was a stay at home mom until my youngest was in school this made me in my late 50's when a contract of part time work was being offered to me. I spoke to the head of personnel, my special education supervisor and my principal....How was I supposed to reinvent myself ? Even though I had 3 years of college, this job was my 'life experience' After all the years I was at the top of my pay scale.Where was I supposed to find what I was making per hour at a new job ?? All the school district were pretty much doing the same thing to their support staff. But...... more than anything I would be left with no medical coverage...a scary thought for my age group.
One reason I started in the school system was the need for medical coverage for my family. My husband became self employed after the company he worked for closed in the 90's. Getting medical coverage was a big plus for us.
Prior to my being offer only part time employment the economy was in the gutter, as was my husband's business. In addition, he had to have a heart procedure a few years earlier.
Even though this was really none of my employers business I shared my situation with my supervisors and head of personnel hoping they would consider the reality of my situation.
Wasn't I a member of a union ?? Yes, to work in the New Jersey Public Schools you must be a member of the union. The East Brunswick Education Association offered only the services that you can apply for once you have been RIF'd (Reduction in Force) . Instructional Assistants have no tenior or seniority. Something I knew but thought respect for my sevices and a 'heart' might keep me out of being played with. I thought I would celebrate my retirement with my many colleagues a few years down the line. And, I thought I would have the security of health insurance for myself and my spouse.
Since being RIF'd in 2011 I have been without health insurance. Being unable to find a full time job I continue to be without health insurance. What my husband and I are able to earn does not allow us to budget for health insurance in the year we both turn 60. Each day I hold my breath, hoping we don't need to visit a doctor or hospital.