Teacher's assistants explain their role, but brace for cuts

Posted May 30, 2011

— Thousands of teacher's assistants in elementary classrooms are facing the chopping block under the state Senate's $19.4 budget proposal, which was unveiled last week and includes cuts to education spending overall.

Supporters of eliminating about 13,000 teaching assistant positions in grades 1 through 3 across the state say it would protect teachers' jobs, while others argue it would hurt education in elementary classrooms.

"We are the foundation of the bridge; but if you don't have the foundation, the bridge doesn't work," said Fran Cameron, a first grade teacher's assistant at Joyner Elementary School in Raleigh.

She and her colleague Darcel Davis say their role it to provide extra guidance for students, keep lesson plans moving forward, assist with discipline so teachers can remain focused on the lesson and ensure that no student gets left behind.

teacher's assistants Teacher's assistants explain their role, but brace for cuts

"If there are students who don't actually get (a particular) skill, I pull those kids aside and re-teach what's already been taught," Davis said.

She fears that children might fall through the cracks without the instructional support of teacher's assistants.

"It makes me sad. It makes me sad for all of the children," Davis said. "Kids need to have someone tell them that they care, they need that support."

"We want all the children to be successful all of the time," Cameron said.

If the current version of the state budget passes, the Wake County school system alone would have to cut more than 800 teacher's assistant positions. In 2009, the district eliminated 400 teacher's assistants.

Superintendent Tony Tata is reaching out to teachers to better understand why they need classroom assistance.

"Teacher assistants in (kindergarten, first and second grades) help them better manage their classrooms," Tata said.


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  • Xiaoding Jun 2, 2011

    Boo Hoo! Hey, TA's, you voted for Obama, now you deal with the CHANGE! No job is a change, right?

  • whatusay May 31, 2011

    Why is there a Federal Department of Education???? It did not exist until Jimmy Carter was president. Education has gone down hill ever since. Has anyone noticed that everyting government gets involved in things get worse???? Government is not the answer. Stop depending on tax payers to be forced to support things that don't ever work out.

  • whatusay May 31, 2011

    TA's are ok if you have the money to pay them. Why not open a website where all these pro-TA's can donate. I have no children. Why am I paying taxes to support something I don't believe in in the first place? One teacher per class room. If she needs help she doesn't belong there. I went through 12 years of public education and never had a TA. More socialism and more government jobs is not the answer. Proper parenting in a family home with a mom and day is the answer. However, LBJ killed that concept when he instroducted his "GREAT SOCIETY" with the introductin of pay women to have children without fathers in the household. The more children the more welfare, so kids became dependent on government welfare for survival. Since then an education is not needed because government will provide for your every need, including a free cell phone. Government has destroyed education and now thinks a TA is the answer.

  • Dragonfly20 May 31, 2011

    If you think Teachers Assistants do not add value to the lives of the students that live in North Carolina, you need to visit your local school and shadow one of these great individuals for a week. See what they do. You might just change your mind. School is not what is was 30 years ago, expectations of teachers and students are not the same. It is not fair to compare now to then. It is time people put our children, our nations future, first.

  • superman May 31, 2011

    They must have plenty of money--the supt found enough to give teachers a $500 bonus and then at the same time cut positions. That was a real nice double edge sword.

  • miketroll3572 May 31, 2011

    Never in my life have I seen such crying and whinning from teachers. Its doing nothing but hurting them because at this point I could care less.

  • shortcake53 May 31, 2011

    I volunteer in my grandchilds school. Teachers have their hands full to say the least, and those with a TA are very thankful for the help. Those who say "if a teacher needs a TA they must not be good at their job", when was the last time you controled 23 1st or 2nd graders by yourself??

  • avidreader May 31, 2011

    Did most of YOU have TAs when you were in school? Did you turn out ok? Was your teacher and principal allowed to discipline you? These two things are very much connected. If teachers could discipline kids without the fear of law suits and losing their jobs TAs would not be necessary.

  • scvmcdoc May 31, 2011

    40 years ago I had one teacher and 28-30 kids in the class. We didn't have TA's or "Classroom Moms". We went to school and behaved ourselves. If the teacher was working with another studend we sat in our seats and did our work. We didn't get in trouble because we knew when we got home we would have to face our parents. Maybe a little more dicipline at home for some of these kids and teachers wouldn't need their TA's to babysit.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC May 31, 2011

    "She has 28 students now!"

    Wow, when I was growing up, we had 30+ students in a class, with one teacher and no TA.