Editorial on teacher assistant cuts: Berger knows his explanation doesn’t wash

In case you missed it, Raleigh’s News & Observer has an excellent editorial today that takes Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to task for his wrongheaded action to fire thousands of teacher assistants.

“Phil Berger knows better. A small-town lawyer by trade, the Republican president pro tem of the state Senate deals every day in his profession with figures and laws and details.

And he ought to know that his desperate grasp of weak straws to justify a draconian cut in teacher assistants as proposed in the Senate budget is not going to convince anyone that those cuts are harmless. Fortunately, the House budget is more moderate, perhaps reflecting the U.S. Senate ambitions of Speaker Thom Tillis, who knows he’ll have to broaden his appeal outside of the tea party sphere if he’s to have a chance to be elected statewide.

The Senate proposal would cut the funding for teacher assistants in half – by more than $200 million – a move that would eliminate about 7,400 positions. The Senate proposal uses the savings to help pay for a $468 million plan to raise teacher pay an average of 11 percent. The state currently ranks 48th in teacher compensation in the country.

Teachers, some of whom met with Berger on Monday, couldn’t be blamed for being skeptical. Berger has been a strong critic of teachers, largely because some of them dared to criticize Republicans’ earlier cuts to public education.”

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

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