RALEIGH -- State-by-state teacher pay rankings released on Wednesday show that North Carolina still ranks near the bottom of the nation, and that Republican claims about last year’s education budget were nothing but election-year misinformation.
According to teacher pay data for the 2014-15 school year, North Carolina’s average teacher salary ranks 42nd in the country at nearly $10,000 below the national average. That’s a stark contrast to claims made by lawmakers such as Sen. Phil Berger, who promised that the General Assembly’s education budget last year would raise North Carolina teacher pay to 32nd in the country.
Of course, Berger also falsely claimed that his budget provided “the largest teacher pay raise in state history.” This claim was proven to be completely false almost as soon as it was made, but that didn’t stop Republican candidates from parroting the misinformation in order to win votes.
“Republican lawmakers are willing to say anything to make parents and voters think they support public education, but they’re still unwilling to make a genuine commitment to raising teacher pay to the national average,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “False claims and bogus budget gimmicks will do nothing to stem the tide of teachers leaving North Carolina for states with better pay, and we hope for our children’s sake that lawmakers figure that out before it’s too late.”
The teacher pay data also shows that North Carolina had the lowest per-student education spending in the southeast at $8,620. The data also shows that from 2003-04 to 2013-14, North Carolina’s average teacher salary declined 17.4% -- more than any other state in the country.
North Carolina’s dismal ranking in teacher pay comes on the heels of Gov. Pat McCrory’s 2015-16 budget proposal, which would not give any pay raise to a whopping two-thirds of public school teachers. And the governor’s and legislature’s poor commitment to public schools has the Houston Independent School District once again luring North Carolina teachers to Texas with another job fair on Saturday, March 21 in Greensboro.