June Atkinson calls for 10 percent salary increase for teachers

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson

It’s a long, long way from action on the N.C. General Assembly floor, but N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson today called for a 10 percent raise for all teachers in North Carolina.

“We need to get at the core reasons why teachers leave the classroom or go to another state,” said Atkinson.

It’s an important year for teacher raises, as many public education advocates point out recent pay increases passed on by GOP leadership in the legislature have brought the average teacher pay in North Carolina to just 42nd in the nation, with average pay of more than $47,000.

The national average exceeds $57,000, according to the National Education Association. 

And, with 2016 being an election year, some leaders in the legislature have publicly stated their intentions for some sort of raises this year.

On Wednesday, Atkinson, addressing the House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices, called for a “wedding cake” approach to teacher pay.

Atkinson pointed out wedding cakes require a good foundation. For teachers, that foundation would be a 10 percent pay raise across-the-board.

“It goes back to the whole notion that teachers believe there’s a sense of fairness about salary,” Atkinson said. “I would want North Carolina to be extremely bold.”

Atkinson said her “wedding cake” analogy would also include adding layers of “educational leaders” to the public education structure, which would include peer evaluation specialists for teachers, instructional coaches and professional development coordinators.

More details on Atkinson’s plan as they becomes available.

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