Pierce joins teacher assistants in budget protest

Contributed photo State Rep. Garland Pierce is pictured with teacher assistants who assembled at the state legislative complex for a Tuesday rally opposing a Senate budget proposal that could eliminate thousands of TA jobs.

RALEIGH — State Rep. Garland Pierce is standing with teacher assistants who could be out of work if a Senate budget plan is signed into law.

Pierce, D-Scotland, met with North Carolina teacher assistants during a Tuesday rally at the state legislative building. Pierce said the Senate budget seeks to eliminate more than 8,500 TA jobs in the Tar Heel State.

“Every knockdown does not mean it’s a knockout,” Pierce said in a speech during the rally, pledging to support teacher assistants in the legislature. “The fight is not over!”

Rally participants carried signs reading “Pink Slip Truth” and “Children Need Teachers And TAs.” Advocates said they are unwilling to accept the lack of job security the Senate budget would institute.

Teacher Assistant of the Year Michelle Bailey stood at a podium and gave a tearful account concerning the viability of TAs and provided insight on the impact individuals in this profession make in many students’ lives.

Teacher assistants continued to argue their significance in the daily operations of the classroom. The men and women discussed the many roles teacher assistants serve such as substitute teaching, tutoring students and even administering exams.

Pierce represents Richmond, Scotland, Hoke and Robeson counties in House District 48 and is chairman of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus.