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When President George W. Bush first sent Congress his proposal for the so-called No Child Left Behind law--also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)--curiously absent was any mention about the role of education support professionals in public schools.
Nowhere in that January 2001 document did the president use words such as "paraprofessional" or "aide," even though the law mandates that Title I paras demonstrate, through one of three ways, that they are "highly qualified."
This wasn't a one-time oversight. Since ESEA was signed into law, says Joel Packer, NEA manager of ESEA policy, "the Administration has failed to insist that states …