North Carolina teaching assistants lobby to keep their jobs

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Teaching assistants converged on the North Carolina General Assembly Wednesday to personally lobby lawmakers to let them keep their jobs.

A just-passed Senate budget proposal would cut about 8,500 teaching assistant positions. The money saved would be used to reduce public school class size and give pay raises to regular teachers.

But teaching assistants told lawmakers Wednesday their jobs are vital.

"We wear many hats and we take on a multitude of jobs," said Cumberland County teaching assistant Emma Walker.

Walker and Johnston County TA Chris Brown visited the legislature with the group North Carolina Association of Teaching Assistants. Brown said he hoped to ask senators how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot.

"Are they willing to give up their assistants that help them with their paperwork, prepare them for their speeches and bill writes, and stuff like that?" he asked.

Walker said reducing class size is a good idea, but not at the expense of TAs.

"I think they still can maintain teacher assistants and also maintain adequate class size," she said.

"The House and the Governor came up with a budget that kept all our teachers employed like they are now. And I believe, really believe they can do the same," said Brown.

The Senate budget would also use money from eliminating TAs to give raises to young teachers and that's drawing criticism from long-time teachers who say it's not fair to them.

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