NC Teachers Make Less Today Than They Did a Decade Ago
North Carolina used to be a respectable place for a teaching career as it was ranked 22nd in the nation for teacher pay. However, after years of failing to support educators, NC is currently ranked 47th for teacher pay. Governor McCrory has done too little for teachers and they have no option but to seek employment elsewhere. McCrory and his buddies in Raleigh need to make teachers a priority before it hurts the future of our students even more.
Where teacher pay will end up this year is still unknown. Lawmakers and education leaders who have spoken publicly about the topic have called for raises anywhere from 2 percent to the double digits. Pay freezes of the past don't appear to be an option anyone is considering.
A WRAL News poll in March found support for increased teacher pay. A majority of respondents said they believe North Carolina's K-12 public schools are inadequately funded and that teacher salaries should be increased by up to 10 percent.
Those views are in line with what North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson has asked lawmakers for in recent months. She went to the legislature in January to request a 10 percent raise for teachers, later telling WRAL that she wants the General Assembly to "find a way" to make it happen.
Although some lawmakers called her request unrealistic, Atkinson says she believes they will give teachers the largest salary increase in a decade because it is an election year.
"The teacher in the classroom is the most important person, outside of a family member, in our children's lives," Atkinson said. "Our teachers have not gotten into education to become millionaires, yet they did not take a vow of poverty either."
State Board of Education members also weighed in on the teacher pay issue when they met last month. Members debated whether to request a specific amount for teachers, as the state superintendent did. Instead, they decided to focus on how North Carolina ranks against other states, with the goal of becoming No. 1 in the Southeast for teacher salaries.
North Carolina ranks 10th out of 12 states in the Southeast, according to the latest data. The state would need to increase average teacher pay by 12 percent to take the No. 1 spot from Georgia.