For the past 30 years, I have served as an educator in the Macon County School System. It has always been and remains to this day a rewarding profession. Over the past several years however, that profession and public schools in general have been subjected to some very daunting challenges. One of the most disturbing trends that I have witnessed in recent years is the significant reduction in number of adults available to work directly with students in our elementary classrooms. Ten years ago there were enough assistants to provide full time help for students in grades K-3 and to provide part time help in grades 4-6. We have reached a point now where we do not even have enough to cover all of our kindergarten and first grade classrooms. The beautiful new Iotla Valley Elementary School where I currently serve as principal has fewer classroom assistants now than the old Iotla school had five years ago, and that school had less than half of our current enrollment.