Senate offers 11% pay raise for teachers without requiring them to give up tenure; still does away with TAs

Lawmakers tasked with coming up with a 2015 state budget met in public this afternoon, where Senate leaders pitched once again an 11 percent pay increase for teachers — but this time, without requiring them to give up their tenure protections.

Sen. Harry Brown introduced the proposal, explaining that their budget plan would bring North Carolina up to 27th in the national rankings for teacher pay. The House’s plan would only boost North Carolina to 37th.[ See documents related to the Senate’s latest offering here.]

While Rep. Brian Holloway said he was pleased to see that the Senate has offered to give up hinging pay raises on whether or not teachers give up tenure, he was quick to point out how the Senate continues to propose paying for that plan by eliminating teacher assistants.

Sen. Bob Rucho defended the Senate’s plan to eliminate TAs, noting that the teacher assistant model was put into place by former Gov. Jim Hunt and that since then, reading proficiency among North Carolina’s children has decreased.

Brown echoed Rucho’s sentiments, saying that “study after study” indicates that TAs have no positive effect on student achievement. [Authors of one study that Senate leader Phil Berger pointed to as evidence that TAs were not a necessary classroom investment have publicly said Berger misinterpreted their study results.]

Senate leaders also asked House members to defend their proposal to increase the lottery advertising budget as a way to pay for their proposed 5 percent teacher raises.

Rep. Nelson Dollar defended the House’s plan, unwilling to budge on increasing the lottery advertising budget from 1 percent to 2 percent while also enacting truth in advertising language that some say would make it harder to raise hoped for revenues.

Budget conferees will meet again in public tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.


  1. Kristy Kimrey

    July 8, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I have been a teacher assistant for 19 years and to say I have no positive effect on student achievement and I am not a necessary classroom investment is insane! The people making the decisions on who is necessary in a classroom have never even worked in a classroom. I work every day one on one with children who are below grade level in reading and math to help them so when they leave my class they are on grade level or above. Teachers in kindergarten-second grades need teacher assistants. We ARE necessary to help these children become productive members of society. I would love for Bob Rucho to follow me for a day and see everything I do. He wouldn’t be able to keep up!

  2. Teacher

    July 8, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Studies have shown that Senate staffers do not improve Senator achievement. I propose that Senator Rucho, Brown and Berger eliminate their staffers and deal with their constituents on their own !!!

  3. Shannon Colclolough

    July 9, 2014 at 10:43 am

    1:25 K-3 is Ridiculous! I’m a TA in CMS and I have seen the struggling teachers in grades K-3 struggle to keep up with not only teaching a class size so huge, but also meet every child’s academic needs in the classroom as well. I think we should come up with a program called “A Teacher for a Day” and have senators, parents, and other personnel who think our job is easy to do. Being a teacher requires the same effort as a camp counselor, which means dedication to a child 24/7.

  4. Teacher Assistant

    July 9, 2014 at 11:31 am

    To sit there and say that Teacher Assistant have no positive effect on students is degrading. We work our butts off day in and day out helping children that are below grade level so they can succeed and move on to the next grade. A teacher can have many years of experience but there is no way that they can meet all the children needs in a classroom period. I have seen how teachers struggle throughout the day trying to get the children to learn. Plus when all the children in the class are on different levels there is no way a perfect teacher meet all their needs. Teacher Assistants do no get paid enough as it is. 17,000 a year is below property level for everything we do. It seems to me that everyone who is making these decisions have not spent time in a classroom and need to go and actually see how teacher assistants work hard all day long.

  5. Teacher

    July 9, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    My TA is split between another teacher and myself thanks to wanting to eliminate TAs. In a first grade classroom this is absolutely ridiculous. She works hard to help meet the needs of students in two different classes. K-2 teachers should not have to share TAs. Each teacher should have their own so then maybe reading scores would come up according to your so called studies. Come out of your offices and go to the classrooms! Talk to teachers and TAs. See what our day is really like. See how much work it is to go back and forth between teachers and hear TAS say how they feel they could do so much more if they could be with one teacher. Better yet, try doing your job with limited staffers that you have to share with other senators. They are not TAS they are Co teachers. They work just as hard and give just as much as the teachers they support!

  6. From the Front Lines

    July 9, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I cannot believe that people who have NO IDEA what happens in a classroom continue to make decisions that will affect so many. TA’s can save a lot of remediation later when they are able to give students extra time when so many skills are being learned. There is no way that one teacher can “right the path” of more than a few struggling students on her own. I teach 3rd and know that students that haven’t mastered basic reading skills by the end of the year are going to fall further and further behind as the curriculum shifts from basic skills to content. This is a no brainer investment in our students. I am more than happy to give some of my pay raise toward keeping TA’s in all K-2 classrooms.

  7. Jan Beasley

    July 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    You people making these decisions about Teaching Assistants need to come into any classroom in North Carolina, preferably in Surry County and observe us for a while and just see what exactly goes on between the student and the T.A. Before you make these comments about how a T.A. has no positive effect on student achievement, you need to see first how WE DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT IS A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS!! I have been a Teaching Assistant for 21 years and please let me say that each day there are students that are excited because finally they understand how the writing and the reading goes “hand-in-hand”.They are excited because “it finally clicks” with them about the math they have been trying to understand. We are dedicated professionals – dedicated to those children who need that extra help! I work with students who struggle with reading and I have seen great achievements in their comprehension, and not only that; their self esteem changes because you see, they finally “get it” and that comes from our help. The Teaching Assistant is a valuable asset in the classroom and you all need to come and observe and just see what great things go on between the T.A. and the student! I think you would be pleasantly surprised. May I say also, that after 21 years of this profession, I still get excited at the beginning of a school year, knowing that I will help make a difference in the life of a student!

  8. Beth Broadway

    July 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    One step forward and two steps backwards! I retired this year after working as a TA for 22 years. Now you are going to give teachers a raise and expect them to do more work without a TA! Is that really a raise? Not only did I take work home at night so that I could work with the students while at school and still keep my paperwork done, I worked many Sunday afternoons as well. Who will do the book orders, money that has to be receipted each day, field trip paper work, copies,etc? Not to mention the duties outside of the classroom such as lunchroom duty, bus duty, carpool duty, hallway duty, vision screening, and the list goes on! This is not only absurd, but giving teachers a raise and increasing their work! – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/07/08/senate-offers-11-pay-raise-for-teachers-without-requiring-them-to-give-up-tenure-still-does-away-with-tas/#comment-346278

  9. RJ

    July 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Ah, but they’re not interested in education for all, especially the kids who might be falling behind. That’s what prisons are for!

    Their goal is to privatize the public school income stream and channel it to their buddies in the charter/private business. Very simple. It’s always about the $ with these people, short con or long con.

  10. Teacher Assistant

    July 9, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I have worked in the school system as a TA for 12 years. Never have I felt so unwanted or unneeded as I did this last year when our hours were cut to 6 per day. We leave before the children do. We were not a part of meetings or extra activities. I agree that the people who says we don’t make a difference come in and spend time in classroom. Observe the children and their behavior and tell me how you expect a teacher to teach a class and displine the ones who are acting up or not paying attention. I am talking k-1 classes. Without TA we can’t break uk the class and work on the different needs of each student. Some students learn so much better in smaller groups where we can keep their attention. Shame on you all for thinking about money and not what is best for the students.

  11. Jeremy

    July 10, 2014 at 1:24 am

    As a former TA and a current teacher I would have to say that TAs aren’t needed in grades beyond Kindergarten. As it stands right now, TAs are barely with those grade levels and basically are being pulled for many other duties instead of working directly with stuggling children. The way it is structured now is a waste of money and resources. A school could reduce the amount of TAs by more than 50% simply by increasing their efficiency and streamlining their duties. Instead of a TA being given a specific classroom to “assist” in, have them work with specific groups that are pulled from several classes. All that being said, in Kindergarten, there needs to be a TA present, at least for the first 9 weeks to help the children get aquainted to the routines. After that, they could become more scattered and work with other grade levels. However, I do agree that most of the people making the decisions are clueless and have no idea what happens in a classroom and 11% is a good “first step” to righting the wrongs that have been done to our dedicated teacher’s paychecks by freezing our pay for many years.

  12. Jennifer

    July 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    @Jeremy, obviously you have it made to think TA’s aren’t needed. You obviously aren’t relying on yours enough which may be something you should work on. I work my tail off in the classroom WITH the children as much as the teachers do. To say we aren’t needed is an insult and shame on you for not backing up the teachers. The senate is a joke. They make 6 figures and we are all struggling. How they sleep at night is beyond me. They don’t know squat about children today or what goes on in a classroom. I vote we clean house and vote against everyone that is currently in those offices. Get people in there who know what they are doing.

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