Value of Teaching Assistants questioned as NC budget debate drags on (video)

Budget negotiations resume Wednesday morning with Senate and House members still at odds over how much of a bump in pay teachers will receive.

One of the sticking points Tuesday centered on the Senate’s proposal to pay for those raises by eliminating about 7,400 teacher assistants.

Stokes County Rep. Bryan Holloway said that would hamstring local school superintendents and make it more difficult for teachers to teach:

“I really just think the TAs are important; I think having an extra hand is an asset to a teacher,” argued Rep. Holloway while jockeying for the House’s latest budget proposal.

Sen. Harry Brown countered that the value of teaching assistants was being overstated:

“There are lots of studies out there that look at teacher assistants and what kind of impact it has on student results. And most of them, if not all of them, will tell you that it has very little to do with student results,” countered the Onslow County Republican.

To hear a portion of Tuesday’s budget hearing, click below. For the latest on the budget talks, read this piece by NC Policy Watch education reporter Lindsay Wagner. Wagner will be covering Wednesday’s conference committee hearing.


  1. J Vernon Furr

    July 9, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Do we have links to the studies that Sen. Brown references in his remarks? I’d like to see those studies and come to my own conclusions.

  2. Clayton Henkel

    July 9, 2014 at 7:37 am

    While Sen. Brown did not elaborate on which studies he was referring to on Tuesday, here’s more on the studies that Sen. Phil Berger has relied on: http://ow.ly/yWT7m. Note that the authors of one study that Sen. Berger pointed to as evidence that TAs were not a necessary classroom investment have since publicly said Berger misinterpreted their study results.

  3. Hilda White

    July 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    If those people who question the value of teacher assistants were placed alone to teach a classroom of 24+ five year olds, they would quickly understand the value of the TA.

  4. susan

    July 9, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    I have to say that teacher assistants do a lot for the classroom. they work hard each day. and they give a lot to each child in what they do. I know for a fact this is the truth I been in the classroom for 9 years. and we do so much for each child. the end of the year testing proves how much they have learned through out the school year where they have come from. A teacher has so much to do during the day. and we are there to provide the teacher with the help with the children. I come home tired and it show’s how much we spend the time with the children and the teacher. you are so wrong . Go into a classroom and see the dedication we put fourth in our job. we give every thing to the children. they are the most precious people, They are. we want them to succeed and come out to be wonderful and do what they want to be come. it is so important we take the lead and help the children to succeed in all they are. That is what we do. and we do it well and for the love of the children. I am writing out of my heart. How are jobs are important to us. It brings great joy to me and to the others out there giving all they are to the children. I just want you to understand that education is so important to us. and to give us the rewards that come out. Is the child . And they will succeed This is how I feel about our jobs has assistants to the children and to the teachers that find that needs us.it brings great joy to the children to the parents and the teachers. we are all a team and work together. that is what means so much . Susan

  5. Diane

    July 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Teacher assistants are a vital part of education every day. We do so much more than copy or grade papers. We are nurses, Mom, Dad, teacher (when they have meetings, phone calls, conferences) oh and when they need to go to the bathroom, etc. Also when a child is sick the teacher has to stop teaching the other 25 or more students to attend to that child if a teacher assistant is not in the classroom to help. We also help children learn to read, help struggling students with reading, math, writing, etc. We are also used for testing at the beginning, middle and end of year. We are bus drivers, play ground monitors and I could go on and on. Please Mr. Brown since you know so much about what teacher assistants do or what you think they don’t do please come spend a day or more like a week in the classroom and see how valuable we are. I am sure any teacher will gladly tell you also.

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