Gov. McCory's budget cuts have teacher assistants fighting for their jobs

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Teacher assistants around the state are fighting to keep their jobs after Governor Pat McCrory announced cutting jobs in his budget plan.

More than 3,000 teacher assistants could be impacted if McCrory's plan passes.

North Carolina's teacher assistant of the year William Johnston says TA's play a big part of a child's education. Johnston, a TA at Booker T. Washington Primary School in Clarkton, says they are there for the kids, and if their jobs are cut, the greatest impact will be on the children. He says with the job a teacher has today, they do not have the time to give extra attention to the students. "That's where we come in. We work with the teacher in a partnership to help make sure that that child succeeds. To work with the low performing students, in order to help move them to proficiency. To take the middle ones and keep them moving forward, and also take our high ones and move them in the direction," Johnston said.

Governor McCrory's plan would add 5,000 slots for at-risk children in the state's pre-kindergarten program. Although the Governor's proposed budget would take away 3,000 TA jobs, it would add almost 2,000 full-time teaching positions. The plan would cut funding for teacher assistants except for in kindergarten and the first grade.

Johnston thinks if these cuts go into effect we will see a drop in test scores over time. "I think it's important to help children in kindergarten and especially through the third grade to help establish an educational foundation for them to build on to continue to grow and go forth," Johnston said.

Johnston wants legislators to know the value of teacher assistants. He thinks people should speak out to let them know how important TA's are.

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I have often had the same thought...

A competent teacher should be able to handle a classroom without any assistant. When I went to school, there was no such thing as a teacher's assistant. Everyone got a much better education than is the case now. Let's get back to basics, one teacher per classroom, who is competent and efficient in his position, pay him well and do away with tenure so that the lower performing ones can be gotten rid of.

I am like some of the others on here who have said "You should come and shadow a teacher assistant!" I can not believe that you want to compare today with long ago. Long ago we did not have a teacher assistant in our classroom because our mothers were at home. And if the teacher were to have had to call her, I would have had my tail burned up, for causing trouble in the classroom. Now both parents work today, because things are not like ago. Long ago, there were not children with all kinds of labels in the classroom, like there is now. The teacher long ago, did not have to do as much testing as we do now. Technology has come along way, just look at what we are doing right now, you had only a radio or if you had money, you had a black and white tv. Long ago was a much simpler time, in my life as a child. Teachers have much more on their plates than they did years ago. The state expects more and more from the education system.

Teacher Assistants help children who have fallen behind, have special needs, or who just plain don't understand what is going on in the particular subject. Teacher Assistants help the teacher teach reading, mathematics, economics, and we are the people who take the child aside that does not get the help at home. I am an extension to the teacher, I do not run papers off all day, I do not grade papers all day. I am there with the teacher trying to help EACH child achieve the goal at hand. Educating children!!

"pay him well and do away with tenure so that the lower performing ones can be gotten rid of."
They alredy CAN do this
NC General Statutes 115C-325:
" (e)
Grounds for Dismissal or Demotion of a Career Employee.
(1) Grounds. – No career employee shall be dismissed or demoted or employed on a part‑time basis except for one or more of the following:
a. Inadequate performance.
b. Immorality.
c. Insubordination.
d. Neglect of duty.
e. Physical or mental incapacity.
f. Habitual or excessive use of alcohol or nonmedical use of a controlled substance as defined in Article 5 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes.
g. Conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
h. Advocating the overthrow of the government of the United States or of the State of North Carolina by force, violence, or other unlawful means.
i. Failure to fulfill the duties and responsibilities imposed upon teachers or school administrators by the General Statutes of this State.
j. Failure to comply with such reasonable requirements as the board may prescribe.
k. Any cause which constitutes grounds for the revocation of the career teacher's teaching license or the career school administrator's administrator license.
l. A justifiable decrease in the number of positions due to district reorganization, decreased enrollment, or decreased funding, provided that there is compliance with subdivision (2).
m. Failure to maintain his or her license in a current status.
n. Failure to repay money owed to the State in accordance with the provisions of Article 60, Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.
o. Providing false information or knowingly omitting a material fact on an application for employment or in response to a preemployment inquiry."

Here's the REAL problem.
No one has come up with a good performance measurement for teachers.
Why? Well a LOT of their performance may be based on tests taken by the student. How much effort the student puts in may affect the test score so you'd be terminating a teacher for something he/she has no control over.
But the means exist for termination if the Principle maintains adequate documentation of the perceived under performance.

Oh and BTW - the above mentioned standard applies to all tenured positions not just teachers.
So if test scores go down district wide I would assume we could terminate the superintendent.

So if we can do this with a tenured government employee why can't we do it with county commissioners?

Vog

As a Teaching Assistant I am angered and repulsed by the argument that the State of North Carolina is cutting funding for my job to cover the over spending for Medicaid and Medicare. While I know there are people that receive medicaid and medicare that truly need it I also am aware in my county alone their are hundreds of individuals on disability that could be working. I know about people getting on disability that don't need it and people selling their prescriptions that medicaid or medicare paid for. Instead of putting people out of work why doesn't NC or even the Federal Government kick the people off of disability and welfare that doesn't need it? Surely there is a better way of determining the need of government assistance and following through with fraud.