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Here’s some history on teacher assistants – and a hint about why Senate Republicans want to get rid of them: They’re Jim Hunt’s creation.
In his first race for Governor in 1976, Hunt proposed what he called the Primary Reading Program. As Lieutenant Governor and ex-officio member of the State Board of Education, he had become concerned – as Senator Berger says he is today – that too many third-grade students couldn’t read.
So the essence of the Primary Reading Program was to put what Hunt then called “reading aides” into every K-3 classroom. Their job would be to focus on teaching reading.
Hunt, as was his wont, talked in great detail about the concept in the campaign. We ran TV ads about it. It became a centerpiece of his legislative program in 1977. It passed, and soon every K-3 classroom had an aide. They later were called “teacher assistants.”
The plan worked. Into the ‘80s and through the ‘90s – thanks also to bipartisan support for the reading program and other initiatives, including Governor Jim Martin – national tests showed North Carolina students improving faster than those in other states.  (Exactly the kind of performance comparisons we won’t have once Common Core is dumped, by the way.)
Apparently, the driving goal in the Senate is to rid North Carolina of any whiff of anything Democrats did in education. And damn the consequences.


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2 comments on “The Origin of Teacher Assistants

  1. Anonymous says:

    To begin with without your reminder I would be willing to bet that 90% of the people in N.C. could not have told you the origin of teacher assistants. A better statistic would be to see the reading scores before teacher assistancs and then after. A few good questions to ask would be the following: Why now do we need a teacher assistant to teach reading? Did teachers not teach reading before assistants? What has changed that makes it impossible for teachers to teach reading without an assistant? There was a time when a teacher had a class room of 25 to 30 kids all by herself and managed to teach them reading as well as the math, science, history and geography. Could it be something the liberals put on the teachers that gave them less classroom time to teach. You bring up some good questions.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How ridiculous is that? My goodness, Gary. Republicans don’t focus on Hunt or what democrats did in the past just to change it. You’re obviously paranoid. BIG TIME paranoid. Again…that’s ridiculous!

    I grew up with NO teacher’s assistants. My kids (now oldest being 46) had so few teacher’s assistants I can’t even remember them as being part of their education and I’ve been involved in my children’s education since day one. No one has a problem having having people that help assist in educating the kids that have learning disabilities and other such issues…that’s a good thing. But, having people to just help regular school kids read? C’mon, what are the teachers doing for crying out loud. I am willing for tax dollars to be spent on “assistants” in programs that are put forth for kids that are truly in need of help because of so many things too many to mention here…but not to just take a load off of our teachers that are supposed to teach reading in the first place. I learned to read…as did ALL of us and ALL of my children…without “special” taxpayer-paid so-called assistants. I understand that the “plan worked into the ’80’s and 90’s” as you put it. I mean, if we spent a few million more dollars on reading, math, history assistants…etc…sure, then sure it’d help the teachers. Teachers in public schools are there to teach these things. Geeeepers!

    Oh, and anyone that FINALLY reads this post (which will be posted maybe as much as a week after Gary put his Front Page presentation here) need to know that unless some blog site or some newspaper columnist and something like that posts something Gary and Carter posts here….replys from we Tapsters to these front page posts will be shown at a MUCH later date. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Gary and Carter don’t want people to see replies to their posts…especially negative replies.

    Gary, you were in the Hunt administration MANY moons ago. It was a FAR different time in North Carolina. We had a FAR different culture and the parent/child relationships and the parent involvement in children’s education back then was FAR different. F-A-R different.

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