Uncategorized

Bob Rucho’s “different model” of education

Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County

Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County

As Clayton Henkel and Lindsay Wagner report in the posts below, negotiations over teacher pay have taken what appears to be a positive turn this week at the General Assembly with the announcement that the state Senate is willing to back down on its demand that teachers choose between a pay raise and their right to a measure of due process when it comes losing their jobs.

It’s welcome news, but news that is tempered by the fact that Senators apparently kept their fingers crossed behind their backs while they made the offer. Senate Education Committee chairman Jerry Tillman also told reporters Lynn Bonner and Jim Morrill that the matter of teacher due process (i.e. “tenure”) would be back:

“’We’ll get rid of tenure in 2018,’ he said. ‘That issue will be settled.’”

Perhaps even more frustrating than Tillman’s statement in the aftermath of yesterday’s negotiations, however, were the comments of his Senate colleague and fellow conservative fire-breather, Bob Rucho.

When asked about the Senate’s consistent refusal to budge on its plan to pay for teacher raises by firing thousands of teacher assistants (a plan that even Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger hinted might finally be on the way out) Rucho was his usual  aggressive self. As Morrill and Bonner reported:

“But GOP Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews told fellow lawmakers that years of teacher assistants don’t seem to have made a difference in student performance. ‘That model,’ he told fellow lawmakers, ‘isn’t working.’

‘What the Senate is trying to do is find another model, and that is upgrade the quality of the teacher,’ he said. ‘If you look at the big picture teacher assistants really haven’t functioned as well as people keep bragging about.’”

And just what would that different “model” be, Senator? Paying teachers a little more to handle a lot more kids?

The obvious truth of the matter is that North Carolina could probably do with fewer TA’s if (and it’s a huge IF) it somehow got class sizes down to truly manageable levels. If, for instance, second grade teachers had 15 kids in their classes instead of 25 or 30 (or more), many of them probably could do without their TA’s.

But, of course, to make such a huge shift would take huge new investments and years of thoughtful planning and that’s clearly not what Rucho and his conservative pals have in mind.

For now and for as long as North Carolina keeps its class sizes as high as they are, the idea of firing thousands of TA’s is a preposterous one and the only “plan” of which it is a part is the conservative stratagem to divide and conquer their political adversaries while undermining and privatizing the core functions of government. As one TA said in a comment on Lindsay Wagner’s story from yesterday afternoon:

“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!”

3 Comments


  1. love my state

    July 9, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Rucho is a former dentist who made false teeth. He wouldn’t know reality if it bit him in his posterior gluteus maximus.

  2. Susan

    July 9, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Wonder how many children he would want running around his work place without someone else there to help!

  3. Daniel Barbee

    July 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    The elected state legislators in this state are taking it backwards in a hurry as they make grand sweeping generalizations wit no empirical evidence at all.

Check Also

As conservative legislators ignore sea level rise, locals move ahead without them

There is a somewhat encouraging story on sea ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding [...]

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been ra [...]

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up A blanket o [...]

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Env [...]

With Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House desperate to post a big legislative win, the [...]

Latest court system mess is directly linked to the Right’s ideological war on public structures Some [...]

Republicans in Congress are rushing to advance a tax reform bill that balloons the federal deficit s [...]

The post Charitable donations and the GOP’s chopping block appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Spotlight on Journalism

We invite you to join a special celebration of investigative journalism! The evening will feature Mike Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team known for their coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tickets available NOW!

Spotlight On Journalism

This event will benefit NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Sponsorship opportunities available now!

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more