Steve Ford, former editorial page editor for the News & Observer, breaks down the latest statistics from the National Education Association on state level public education financing in today’s NC Policy Watch column, “Crossroads for Teacher Pay.” North Carolina still ranks pretty low in NEA’s survey, sitting at 46th in the nation in teacher pay for the second year in a row.
Here’s the overall picture, drawn from census and budget statistics: North Carolina shapes up as a state with below-average wealth, below-average overall levels of taxation and below-average revenues committed to the schools.
Of particular concern to teachers, and of particular importance as a factor in school quality, is the state’s teacher salary structure. The NEA’s survey confirmed that during the 2012-13 school year, the latest comparison available, North Carolina continued to rank toward the back of the pack. Its average teacher pay was $45,737, or 46th in the country and $10,366 below the national average.
And while state-level funding per pupil looks good for North Carolina at first glance, remember that localities don’t pay into their local school systems to the same degree as their counterparts in other states — it’s incumbent on the state to fund the majority of the state’s local school budgets. Combined state and local level funding per pupil actually puts North Carolina at the bottom — 48th in the nation, just above Tennessee, Arizona and Idaho.
Read Ford’s full analysis here.