TAs, parents fight the 'largest layoff in state history'

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As part of a tour hosted by Aim Higher Now and Progress NC, TAs, teachers and parents gathered in Raleigh on Tuesday to fight against the proposed cut of 8,500 TA jobs - which would be the largest layoff in state history. They were joined by State Senator Josh Stein, who is fighting on behalf of our students and educators inside the legislature. 

From WRAL's article,

Even though they're on summer break, dozens of teaching assistants spent Tuesday on a field trip, lobbying state lawmakers not to cut their jobs.

The Senate budget for the next two years calls for cutting 8,500 TAs statewide, instead targeting money to hire 6,700 teachers to help reduce class sizes in lower elementary school grades.

Although the new budget year starts Wednesday, lawmakers this week passed a stopgap spending measure to keep state funding at current levels until mid-August so they have a few more weeks to agree on a budget after they return from a week-long break.

"The message the politicians are sending is, 'Y'all have a happy 4th of July! We're going to the beach! Maybe we'll fire you when we get back,'" said Melinda Zarate, state secretary of the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants.

"I'm so shocked, and I'm going to say that I am also angry that these wonderful, hard-working, competent teaching assistants who are so important to education have to spend their summer worrying if they are going to have a job in the fall," said Lisa Kaylie, a parent of two special-needs students in Chapel Hill.

TAs no longer simply make copies for teachers or put together classroom bulletin boards, said Michelle Bailey of Onslow County, the state's current Teaching Assistant of the Year.

"We teach side by side with our teachers in the classroom," Bailey said. "It's as if what we do is not important."

Sen. , D-Wake, said that, if the cuts are included in the final budget, the number of TAs statewide will have dropped by 70 percent since 2008-09.

"This is a ridiculous approach to educating our children," Stein said, noting that a lone teacher in a class of 17 kindergartners cannot escort a child to the bathroom or handle a behavioral problem without sacrificing the needs of the rest of the class.


  1. Nancy Wilson's avatar
    Nancy Wilson
    | Permalink
    If legislators think that TA's are not important, they are totally mistaken. Let them come spend a week with a kindergarten or 1st grade class of 17 or more, alone and be responsible for student learning, testing, behavior, social skills and all the extra duties that teachers have. It is impossible to do any of these thing well without something suffering when there is only one person responsible for it all. TA's are very important for classrooms. They teach alongside the teacher. They work with slower performing students. Our students are no longer in individual desks in a row. They work in small groups with teachers guiding one group, an assistant with a group and others in other groups and TA's help keep groups running smoothly. Keep TA's in the classrooms!!!!
  2. Ronin Harden's avatar
    Ronin Harden
    | Permalink
    I am a 25 year veteran teacher of public Ed in N.C. If you voted for these Republicans and a Governor who is out to destroy education in a State that once led others (think Jim Hunt), you have no right to complain. Many of us rallied, stood at the polls and tried to tell North Carolina what would happen if McCrory and his cronies were elected. Now your children and their teachers are paying a very serious price!
  3. Wendy Weeks's avatar
    Wendy Weeks
    | Permalink
    I agree with the comment written by Ronin Harden. We tried to let voters know what would happen if McCrory was elected. I'm not even talking about teacher salaries. I'm talking about financially supporting the educational programs in the schools. I refer to staffing the schools sufficiently so we can actually teach the students, all students no matter their ability, welfare, or intelligence. Our government is stretching the education system so hard that eventually, it will tear, shred, and then what will we have?
  4. michelle fields's avatar
    michelle fields
    | Permalink
    Its time for a new governor!!!!!!!
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