Teachers are sorely underpaid, and the blame is that school systems don’t have the budgets to pay them what they deserve. So they’re over-worked and under-paid. Teachers and schools are always asking for help in the classroom, and grateful when they receive it. So imagine turning away what amounts to free help.
This is what has happened in New York City schools. Parents of children in Manhattan’s public schools have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for teaching assistants out of their own pockets. Thus, freeing a burden on the district’s budget and workload on the teachers. These aides do everything from tutor a variety of classroom subjects to monitor recess.
After complaints from the teachers union, Mayor Bloomberg’s administration has ordered the aides out of the classrooms. The order is that aides of this type must be employed by the department of education, with salaries coming out of the school budget.
Employees will demand higher salaries than they were receiving as independent aides. And it should come as no surprise that most schools don’t have the budget to pay for these aides as employees.
Parents are no doubt enraged, as they feel these aides are a necessity to ensure their children are receiving a quality education.
“The reason the teaching assistants are here is because they’ve been stuffing so many kids in these classes,” says Patrick J. Sullivan, co-president of the Parent-Teacher Association at the Lower Lab School (P.S. 77) in NYC. “Nobody wants to break any rules, but 28 is just too many kids for one teacher,” referring to the student/teacher ratio at this particular school, where parents will spend a quarter-million dollars each school year on the teaching aides.
Learn more about this story at NYTimes.