PTA-paid aides must go in NY

New York City schools can’t use parent donations to pay extra aides, the administration has ruled in response to a teachers’ union complaint. PTA-funded aides, hired by principals, typically make $12 to $15 an hour compared to $23 an hour for aides hired by the school district.  But the district can’t afford the more expensive aides, even as it’s increasing class sizes.

“The reason the teaching assistants are here is because they’ve been stuffing so many kids in these classes,” said Patrick J. Sullivan, co-president of the Parent-Teacher Association at the Lower Lab School (P.S. 77), where parents spend $250,000 a year on the teaching assistants. “Nobody wants to break any rules, but 28 is just too many kids for one teacher.”

. . . Supplemental fund-raising from parent groups has long raised questions of fairness. While the ability to provide extras — teaching assistants, books, computers and art supplies, enrichment programs — has helped keep middle-class families in urban public schools, it also can make it more difficult for schools in poor neighborhoods to compete.

But the teachers’ union didn’t protest based on equity. A  union official complained that some of the aides didn’t go through the city’s screening process and might not be qualified.

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  1. Which makes sense until you get to this part of the article:

    “The system was so successful, according to parents, that it evolved into a training ground for future teachers: At least half of last year’s assistants had graduate degrees in education and New York State teaching licenses. In recent years, 10 former assistants have been hired as teachers at P.S. 6.”

    I have more of an issue with the fairness of being able to pay for aides that low-income schools could never afford. I know Title I schools get more money, but it’s really never enough to fund the personnel needed to make a real difference in some of these children’s lives.

  2. thaprof says:

    I don’t think that I ever saw a class with fewer than 30 until I hit high school.

  3. Parent2 says:

    Thaprof, did your K-8 school(s) practice tracking? Heterogeneous grouping? Were your teachers tasked with various IEPs and 504s to fulfill? Did your instruction center around small group exercises?