Commentary

New report: Hard facts about NC teacher pay, who’s really underpaid and what we need to do

Teacher payBe sure to check out the latest installment in the NC Justice Center’s special “How to build an economy that works for all” series. Today’s special report is entitled “Attract–and keep–high quality teachers in the classroom with competitive pay.”

Among other things, the report explains why North Carolina teacher salaries are “extremely un-competitive” — especially for veteran teachers. Here’s an excerpt:

While American teacher salaries are, on average, inadequately competitive, North Carolina’s teacher salaries are even less so. According to research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), North Carolina’s wage competitiveness is tied for 49th, with only Arizona offering less-competitive teacher salaries. Traditional teacher pay rankings placing North Carolina’s teacher salaries at 41st in the country under-sell the extent to which the state’s teacher salaries are inadequate.

Drawing upon a different U.S. Census data source comparing only full-time workers shows that North Carolina’s teacher salaries might be even less competitive than indicated by EPI. By this measure, North Carolina teachers’ wages are just 57 percent of the wages of other full-time workers in North Carolina with at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to a 64 percent ratio nationwide.

Using this data allows an examination of wage competitiveness by age group. The data runs somewhat contrary to the conventional wisdom that the biggest weakness of North Carolina’s teacher salary schedule is beginning teacher salaries. Instead, it appears that experienced teachers are the most under-paid.

While the age ranges are rather broad, these findings are consistent with EPI’s national analysis showing a smaller wage gap for young teachers, as compared to more experienced teachers.

Click here to read the whole report.

 

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