NC Teachers Earn $10,000 Less than the National Average
An across the board 10% increase in teacher salary was shot down by NC House Speaker Tim Moore with no help from Gov. McCrory. While the increase might sound significant out of context, it would still leave NC teacher pay far below the national average. It seems like teacher pay won't be a priority this legislative session.
The average salary for an N.C. teacher in 2014-15 was $47,783, the National Education Association estimates. That puts us about $10,000 behind the national average.
Atkinson’s proposal, then, would raise average teacher pay by about $4,800. That’s about half the gap between North Carolina’s teacher pay and the national average. We’d have to raise teacher pay by 20 percent, not 10, to be average.
(Given the importance of good teachers, teacher pay seems like an area where we’d want to rank in the top 10. But when you stumble along in the 40s, even reaching “average” is regarded as ambitious.)
A 10 percent across-the-board hike would cost about $540 million. That sounds like a lot of money. But it represents about 2.5 percent of the state budget. And it’s less than the $600 million in tax cuts the General Assembly approved last year. It’s a bit more than the $400 million surplus the state enjoyed last year. It’s tiny compared with the $2 billion-plus the state drummed up to quickly retire an unemployment insurance debt to the federal government.