The NCGA’s Teacher Assistant Contradiction

North Carolina has over 7400 fewer teacher assistants than it did ten years ago.

Let me repeat: North Carolina has over 7400 fewer teacher assistants than it did ten years ago.

When study after study published by leading education scholars and education historians (Ravitch, Kozol, etc.) preach that reaching students early in their academic lives is most crucial for success in high school and life, our General Assembly  actually promoted one of the largest layoffs in state history.

As a voter, I am disappointed that the last six years with this GOP-led NCGA has fostered a calculated attack against public schools with more power and money given to entities to privatize education. By eliminating teacher assistants, the NCGA  simply weakened the effectiveness of elementary schools even more and helped substantiate the need to divert my tax money to segregate educational opportunities even more.

Tim Moore is one of those architects.

And Tim Moore has 12 people on his staff: advisors – or rather – assistants. Just look on his website.


In fact, he’s paying another “assistant” who isn’t even actually doing work. From the January 24th edition of the News & Record:

“By then, Gillespie had spent 14 years as a state lawmaker, followed by two years as an assistant Department of Environmental Quality secretary and a little more than three years advising Moore on environmental issues. Only the last two jobs were full time.

But after Gillespie, 59, of McDowell County, left the legislature in April, he continued to receive his paycheck. All told, he collected $81,700 in pay, state records show, and then he reported he was owed another $12,400 in unused leave. Those records show his last day as an employee was Dec. 31, 2018.”

$81,700 plus $12,400? $94,100 in total for no work? That’s enough to hire at least three teacher assistants in today’s salary schedule, although they should be making much more for what they do.

And what about Phil Berger? He has more “teacher assistants.” In fact, at least four of them make over $100,000 each. From the Winston-Salem Journal on March 14, 2017:

Four staffers for N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham County) make more than $100,000 annually.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Berger released his staff’s salaries this week in response from a public records request from the newspaper which had previously published salary records for Speaker of the House Tim Moore’s staff and for the staff and Cabinet secretaries of Gov. Roy Cooper.

The report states that Berger has more full-time employees and has a slightly higher total payroll than Moore.

Sounds hypocritical to this teacher.

If Moore and Berger want to make the argument that they need a staff / team of assistants, then they would have to acknowledge that schools need teacher assistants eas well.

And nurses for each school and psychologists and other personnel who can help our students.