Regarding the June 18 editorial “Foolish cuts”: I have been a registered nurse for 25 years. In the mid 1980s, a nursing care model known as “primary care” was all the rage. There was a belief that if more nurses were hired and the number of ancillary staff, i.e. certified nursing assistants decreased, patient care would improve. This model did not work.
Nursing care now consists of the RN as a “case manager” with assistance of CNAs, therapists and social workers, providing patient care as a team under the supervision of a physician.
Laying off teacher assistants with the plan of hiring more teachers would decrease the quality of secondary school education, forcing teachers to perform all or many of their necessary tasks. When a teacher and assistants work together as a team, the assistants help by performing the more routine tasks of education, freeing a teacher to perform more complex, specialized tasks.
Legislators need to keep teaching assistants as part of an educational team, not force more work on already overwhelmed, underpaid teachers.