McCrory budget would slash teacher assistant jobs


March 20, 2013 8:11:03 PM PDT
Gov. Pat McCrory wants to hire 1,800 more full-time teachers while slashing 3,000 teacher assistant positions as part of his budget proposal.

Some teachers who spoke to ABC11 say it is bittersweet news. They worry that losing that support inside classrooms could take away that one-on-one time with students.

"In this budget, we're emphasizing more full time teachers in the classroom instead of assistants to teachers," said McCrory Wednesday.

"As soon as you take the teacher assistant out of the classroom, the classroom ratio goes from maybe two to 12 to one to 24," said teacher assistant Debbie Kelly, who has worked in the classroom for ten years. "The days of teacher assistants just running copies, cleaning up the classroom and babysitting -- that's really not what we do."

Kelly is upset with McCrory's plan, and she is taking her fight to the capitol.

"I'll be there with the GOP caucus and we'll be lobbying the General Assembly," said Kelly.

Meanwhile, teachers, like Amanda Jones, worry about who will replace teacher assistants .

"There are a lot of TA's that have gone through a lot of qualifications and training and do a really great job and if they put all that time and effort to lose their job for someone who maybe isn't going to do what they need can be a big scary thing," said Jones.

Rodney Ellis, the president of the North Carolina Association of Educators says, right now, he doesn't know how they'll make up for the loss.

"When you consider the size of our classes, you really need that second individual," said Ellis. "I'd argue to say we need them in middle and high school too."

In the end, they agree it is a plus that more teachers could mean smaller class sizes, but they worry that losing one-on-one attention will affect student success.

"You're going to end up having a teacher teaching to the class and not to the student and that's not how you teach nowadays," said Kelly.

For now, many teachers assistants are waiting to find out how much longer they will have their jobs.

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