While we’ve heard plenty of back and forth already about teacher pay in 2016, there’s been very little open discussion of teacher assistants. Given the legislature’s propensity for slashing T.A. jobs in the last few years, that silence might be a blessing, some would say.
But yesterday on EdNC, Kerry Crutchfield, longtime budget director for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, authored a fascinating piece on North Carolina’s annual debate over teacher assistants. Often viewed as a less measurable component of public education, teaching assistants have frequently found themselves on the chopping block.
But Crutchfield argues state lawmakers are making some serious errors, including relying on old data that predates 2001’s No Child Left Behind Law, which seemed to indicate no measurable improvement in student academics produced by a teacher assistant. As Crutchfield notes, that law included major qualification upgrades for classroom teaching assistants.
Crutchfield goes on to make a series of recommendations for lawmakers if teaching assistants return to the forefront this year, taking special care to argue how essential such positions are in kindergarten classrooms.