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Senate bill would remove class size cap, cut teacher aides

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A school budget bill in the General Assembly could make things even tougher on classroom teachers, and that could mean an impact on your child's education.

"At the elementary level, kindergarten, first grade and second grade, really an ideal class size for that age child is about 15 per teacher. When you get up into the mid and upper 20s in the primary grades, that's real difficult," Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Edward Pruden said.

North Carolina currently limits the number of students in a classroom to 24 for kindergarten through third grade. Senate Bill 374, also known as the as the North Carolina Public Schools Budget Flexibility Act, would eliminate that cap.

"I think some school systems that are pressed for resources might indeed swell their ranks of their primary classes," Dr. Pruden said. "Instead of having 24 or fewer, we could have K through 3 classes with 27, 28, 29. It will make that personalized instruction, individualized instruction more difficult."

If signed into law, SB 374 would not only eliminate limits on class sizes but also cut up to 4,000 teachers aide positions statewide.

"Teachers assistants are critical," Pruden said. "Sometimes when you visit a room it's difficult to tell which one is the teacher and which one is the TA. When you keep the level of teachers flat but you pull out 3,000 to 4,000 teachers assistants statewide, that's a tremendous impact. Here in Brunswick County we would lose 61 teacher assistant positions."

Under current law the state only pays for one teacher per every 18 students.

SB 374 is currently in committee.

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Teacher Assistants

Wow! I can't believe all the negative comments on this article that have nothing to do with the facts! The fact is that this is a different world now then it was in the 60s, 70, or 80s. The standards are very high for education and that's the way it should be! We as a nation should want the BEST for our children. That would be a teacher and a teacher assistant in each elementary classroom. If you allow 30 children into one class with only 1 teacher then some children will get missed. Teachers are having to assess on Ipad's and the student can not get interrupted or it will mess up their scores. If anyone has any clue about 5, 6, and 7 year old's they are not able to teach themselves for any block of time. I would challenge anyone to visit an elementary school and hang out with a teacher and an assistant for a day. I will promise you one thing...you will find out that a teacher assistant does more then just take the students to lunch, recess, and file papers.

Education cuts

I am a Kindergarten teacher and I spend 6 weeks out of the school year doing one on one testing with my students! It is my assistant that is working with my other 20 students while I am busy testing one.

Education cuts

Unless you are a current teacher, you have no clue what happens in a classroom every day. The argument that teachers used to have 30 kids in a room in the '60's has nothing to do with today's classroom. Since the '60's, prayer and corporal punishment have been taken out of the schools. Discipline has become extinct while behavior issues continue to rise. Increasing class size and eliminating an adult in the room will only increase the problem and decrease time on task. As a Kindergarten teacher, my assistant is an integral part of our class's operation. She and I both teach, giving small group or individual instruction every day. Without her in the room, that will be cut by at least 50%, if not more! Kindergarten students are too young to be expected to self monitor for more than 5-10 minutes at a time...the potential for disaster is high and these legislators haven't got a clue!

The Race to the bottom is on...

Mississippi can soon say in regards to their educational system..."Well, at least we're not North Carolina!"

I went to school in the 60s.

I went to school in the 60s. Class size was 30+ students and competent teachers required no assistants. Classes were structured with quickest learners in one class on down to the slower students. Everyone got a good education and passed the same tests to graduate. Maybe it is time to get back to basics instead of letting the slowest learners set the standards.

school in the 60's

Your kidding right? The next time you spend 7 hours of your day with 27 first graders let me know. People who post idiot replys like that have no idea what the educational system of today is like for our students. The expectations of todays students are vastly different than they were in the 60's. If you think "getting back to basics" will do the trick, then come do my job!

school is a different world

Yes, school in the 60's may have worked, however, I doubt you have been in a classroom lately and know what the standards are for students today. My children were learning things in elementary school that I learned in HIgh school. I work in the school system and I know what my day consist of. There are many visitors who come to our school and comment that they are unable to determine who is the teacher and who is the teacher assistant. Well, don't you think the children benefit from having a teacher assistant in their classroom. Also teacher assistants years ago were more of clerical employees. WELL I CAN TELL YOU A VERY SMALL PART OF MY DAY IS CLERICAL.............

I, too, went to school in

I, too, went to school in the 60s and 70s. We learned a fraction of what students learn today. A radio and closed circuit tv was considered high tech. Everyone did NOT get a good education as there was no allowance for learning challenges faced by many students. We also did NOT take the same amount or level of tests nor did we have the same pressure to take honors and advanced placement classes as 9th & 10th graders. Kindergarten students are expected to read, write, and do math - skills once reserved for 1st & 2nd graders. Basics is just that - basics. The world demands more knowledge than a little reading, writing, and arithmetic. It's this kind of static thinking, that we return to some imagined idyllic time, that compromises the education system and the education of our children. Step out of the time machine. It's 2013.

I challenge you

I don't doubt that school was much different back then. I would extend an invitation to you to visit your nearest elementary school and spend the day in a classroom with a teacher and their assistant. With all the assessing and teaching that a lead teacher as to do, it can NOT be done alone. That is to NOT say they are NOT very good teachers. They are....but when you have to assess on an Ipad and can not be interrupted because it will mess up the student's score or concentration. They are many different behavior problems in school today as well. I would ask you to get all your facts before you pass judgement on this Bill.

Thank you
April
A very valuable Teacher Assistant in North Carolina!

You said exactly what I was

You said exactly what I was thinking. My husband and I went to school in the 70s and 80s with similar experiences to what you described. It is such a vast difference than what our children have experienced.

Thank you for pointing this

Thank you for pointing this out. It is time for parents to step up and be parents to the children they bring into this world. We need to hold them accountable for their behavior and academic performance and quit expecting the schools to take our place.

Yes

And back in the early 60s there was no U.S. department of education,no standardized testing and so on and so on......

Vog

Teachers Are Going to Have to Say No

In every classroom there are students that do not work at their full potential. When report cards go home, parents are confused and demand to meet with the teacher to find out why the teacher is failing to properly educate THEIR kid. During these meetings the parents demand a daily, written, update describing the day's lessons and an outline of any homework assignment. In an effort to not piss off anyone and to give everyone the special treatment they think that they deserve, teachers spend more class time "babying" the underperforming students while having to ignore the students who have the desire to be taught, do their work and turn their assignments in, on time. As the class sizes increase, so will the percentage of parents who don't hold their child accountable for late (or missing) assignments and demand special treatment for their child, at the expense of the rest of the class. There will have to come a time when administrators will have to allow teachers to tell parents that there is no time for the daily notes and emails because it robs the rest of the class of instruction time. But, this will never happen until the OTHER parents start to complain about THEIR children sitting, idly by, while the teacher is writing notes to send home to Johnny's parents.

Wilmington Observer

This is the reason why slow

This is the reason why slow learners and faster learners should not be in the same class.

Early education

To me at least it seems critical to give the children a good foundation in the educational process.
I would prefer to spend the money early on to get a good start on the process.
The combination of getting rid of teachers aides and unlimited class size indicates the Legislature considers education at the this level a secondary concern to them.
I am getting very concerned about the direction in which NC is going.

Vog

The teachers' assistants are

The teachers' assistants are nothing more than glorified secretaries. They take the kids to lunch and recess. They make copies, get things laminated and stuff like that.

Teachers' assistants

To the person who wrote that teacher assistants' are glorified secretaries you must not have been in a school for 25 years or so. I have not done clerical work for any teacher. I have 6 periods a day where I instruct 64 children a day, on different grade levels, and plan for each one of them. (which all have made significant growth this year) Also, my other duties to make sure the school runs smoothly, are an emergency responder, bus duty, cafeteria monitor in the mornings, substitute when they don't show up and classroom coverage for meetings the teacher attends for their students. I am also certified Highly Qualified and most teacher assistants have a 4 year degree as well. All that for $13.00 per hour, pretty good deal for school districts I would say!

Concerned

Step into the classroom of a 21st century classroom. Nc has adopted a new course of learning called the Common Core. The implementation of this new curriculum has the teacher accountable for her high standards of teaching. In order for students to learn and still be in contact with parents and even with behaviors that are within the class. Teacher assistants are very valuable. Please remember the education of our children depends upon our future.

I have two children that

I have two children that have come up through the public school system. I am very well aware at the duties of their teachers' assistants. I also know that there is no such thing as "high standards of teaching" in this school system. Today's schools are nothing like when I grew up. It's amazing how little of the essentials that the children actually learn. We learned a lot more and with one teacher and larger class sizes. The only thing that teachers these days are accountable for are the results of the standardized tests, therefore they teach to the test. As a result real education falls by the wayside.

REALLY

I ABSOLUTELY CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ACTUALLY POSTED THIS COMMENT!!!! Apparently you have never followed a teacher assistant around for the day. All the things you listed I rarely have time to do. I do take the kids to lunch and I also monitor 44 children during this time plus I try to eat lunch during this time. I believe if you are actually going to talk about something you should actually know what you are talking about it TRUE. AND WHAT YOU SAID IS COMPLETELY FALSE!!

TA

This is the perception so many people have of teacher assistants. I'am classified as an Instructional Assistant and teach along side of the classroom teacher. I'am NOT a glorified secretary. Many times I'am able to pull out a child who has not yet retained a lesson and assist that child one on one and that is so valuable to an over-sized classroom!

Learn before you rant

Before you categorize and rant the job of a TA perhaps you need to do a little more learning. I, as a TA, do all the jobs you listed, plus I teach small groups, step in for teachers when they are called to training meetings in the middle of the day and teach the lesson plan, step in for teachers when they are absent and teach the classes the same way a regular teacher would. Not to mention become class EMT, listener for any child who needs to talk, attitude monitor, and what ever else I am needed for during our school day. I am educated in early childhood education and am proud to be a TA. So when you say glorified secretaries, I take offense not only for myself, but for all the hard working, child loving TAs of the education system.

Teacher Assistants

To the writer whom claims that Teacher Assistants are nothing but "glorified secretaries," let me clue you in. The job of a TA is creating structure and discipline in the class. They do the specialized tutoring to the kids that are strugling.Yes, they do teach subjects in the classroom along with the certified teacher. When the Teacher is out or absent,they continue without there being any interuption of instruction until there can be a sustitute available. TA's cover other classes in the upper grades for those teachers who are called away from their classes. Oh yeah, every now and then they do run off some papers. Bottom line, there are TA's that are more competent and have more education,experience and degrees than some of the certefied, but they are some of the lowest paid staff and are more versital. Why should they loose their jobs? They got families and bills too. It seems to always be the lowest paid who is doing the most work is the first to loose their jobs. The ones making alot of these decisions have never taught nothing, but they got all the answers. The saddest thing is there are idiots out there that agree with them.

You mention that many

You mention that many assistants have more education than certified teachers. Well, judging from your spelling and grammar, you are not one of them. I spotted at least 10 misspelled words and mis-used words. Go back and see if you can find them. Hope you have spell check on your e-mail account!

Thanks Repukes

Jerry W. Tillman /R; Tamara Barringer /R; Trudy Wade /R;(Primary)
Tom Apodaca /R; Chad Barefoot /R; Bill Cook /R; Ralph Hise /R; E. S. (Buck) Newton /R; Ronald J. Rabin /R; Dan Soucek /R.

Way to look out for the kids.

Wrong!

Don't blame your republicans. Education went to he!l in a handbasket with the great Beverly Perdue. She was the worst thing to ever happen to education in NC. She started the cuts as soon as she took office.

The education system was

The education system was poor before Perdue ever entered into the picture.

have it your way

Don't blame Obama for Bushs left over bills.

CCR

THIS bill was passed by the GOP dominated Senate
But you are correct, Smiley did start some cuts.
Smirkey is trying to out do her.

Vog

Vog

Smiley is also the one who used the Education Lottery as her personal slush fund to balance budgets and fund some of her pet projects.