Leandro report calls for return of thousands of K-3 teaching assistants cut by state legislators

Last month the much-anticipated Leandro report was made public.  The report is the result of a comprehensive, year-long study by non-partisan education consultants WestEd who were appointed by North Carolina courts to take a systematic look at whether or not the state is living up to its constitutional mandate to provide a “sound basic education” to each child.

Spoiler alert–it isn’t.

It’s important to understand that the WestEd’s Leandro report is not so much a progress report as a detailed road map toward compliance for state legislators.  

Any K-3 teacher will tell you how hard it is to manage behaviors and differentiate instruction for a large group of early elementary students with only one adult in the classroom.  Yet in the last decade in North Carolina we’ve seen our numbers of teaching assistants reduced by more than 8,500, the vast majority of them state-funded positions.  

Over the same decade we’ve lost those thousands of teaching assistants, student enrollment in North Carolina schools has increased by 12%.  

One of the recommendations made in the Leandro report is that North Carolina “fully fund teaching assistants in the early grades (K–3) to ensure adequate student-to-staff ratios for fostering responsive relationships and effective instruction.”

Returning the thousands of teaching assistants who have fallen victim to budget cuts over the last decade is going to be a vital step toward providing students with the education guaranteed to them in our constitution.  


6 thoughts on “Leandro report calls for return of thousands of K-3 teaching assistants cut by state legislators

  1. Many of these positions were cut when principals were given the authority to use teacher assistant funding to replace them with interventionist positions. SHAME!

  2. I work as a Instructional Assistant in First grade. I enjoy what I do. There are so many jobs we do other than in one classroom. I do think it’s a huge help to have us in the classroom. Teachers are expected to get these kids where they need to be and with so many behaviors and different levels of children it’s hard. We don’t do just paperwork like some think we do. We help teach with small groups. The kids need two people when they are younger. K-3 This would be one of the smartest things to do. Children are different now expectations are different. Yet they want one person to do it all. Get the teachers the help they deserve!

  3. As a kindergarten assistant, you can find me teaching just as much as the main teacher in our classroom. Many times with the shortage of subs I have been the only adult in the room two to three days at a time. I’m a nurse, teacher, behavior specialist. Mostly, I am the jack of all trades Ingvar classroom. But, let me miss one day and all things will fall a part. We are extremely important part of the classroom. I ask anyone to spend the day with me and they have and many have said “ there is no way I could do this for what you are paid for”. Not to mention I drive a school bus as well!

  4. Glad to see this! I hope the legislators and administrators don’t punish the Health/ Physical Education/ and Arts programs yo get those teachers back!

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