RALEIGH (March 14, 2019) – The fact that average pay for North Carolina teachers now ranks 29th in the country is welcome news – the National Education Association released figures this week that show the state’s teachers now make an average of $53,975.1
Yes, we can quibble over averages:
- How particularly in a growing state, beginning teachers start at the bottom of the pay scale and don’t make anywhere near $54,000,
- How local officials in some urban counties have stepped up to increase pay supplements, but rural teachers who don’t receive the same generous supplements often don’t make that much.2
But the fact is we are headed in the right direction, and state and local officials both deserve credit for increasing teacher pay from an abysmal national rank of 47th in 2013-14.3
The average salary of $53,975 for 2018-19 is $2,744 more than last year and nearly 20 percent more than the state’s $44,990 average five years ago.
That doesn’t mean we should stop, however.
We now rank second in the Southeast behind Georgia, which manages to pay its teachers an average of $57,137. And average pay for North Carolina teachers still trails the national average of $61,782 by $7,807.
If there’s anything officials in Raleigh should be able to agree on, it’s that in the 9th-largest state in the country, we need more teachers for a growing student population. We need quality teachers. And we need to reward their vital efforts.
Both Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper4 and Republican State Superintendent Mark Johnson have called for continued raises for North Carolina teachers.5
Let’s keep it up.
4 https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227179714.html; https://www.wral.com/editorial-cooper-s-budget-puts-public-education-on-right-track/18253984/.