While lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly pitch numbers over teacher pay, the National Education Association released its latest sobering report of pay rankings today, with North Carolina continuing to linger among the lowest-paying states in the nation.
The report, which combines analysis of last year’s pay and projections for the state this academic year, is a popular benchmark for assessing educator pay nationwide.
Last year, the NEA ranked North Carolina 42nd in the nation, with an average teacher salary of about $47,819 (see page 19 of the report). The state lagged the national average for teacher pay—more than $57,000—by about $10,000, and ranked 10th out of the 12 states in the Southeast.
According to the NEA’s report, the projected ranking for North Carolina this year, however, will inch up to 41st in the nation. But the state’s projected average teacher salary, $47,985, continues to fall behind the national average, which was expected to surpass $58,000 this year.
As we’ve reported at Policy Watch, leaders with the State Board of Education have claimed they hope to speed raises that would eventually help the state lead all others in the region.
Leaders with the N.C. Association of Educators immediately lashed out at the N.C. General Assembly following the report Friday.
“Being in the bottom ten in the nation on investing in our public school students and educators is unacceptable,” NCAE President Rodney Ellis said in a statement. “We have dangerously high teacher turnover rates and dangerously low enrollment in teacher training programs. Instead of using a surplus budget for more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, we should be investing in our public school students, educators, and schools.”
This year’s ranking is still an improvement from the state’s ranking in 2013-2014, when North Carolina’s average teacher pay hit its lowest mark at 47th in the nation.
House budget leaders are expected to roll out their teacher pay proposal next week, a key budget writer told legislators Thursday.