Everybody Expects NC Teachers to be Paid More

A preview of the NC General Assembly session which starts January 9th, from a site called JDSupra: (Operated by a public affairs firm vcalled McGuire Woods Consulting.)

Teacher pay raises: Since taking power in 2011, Republicans have increased teacher pay, but Democrats have criticized the amounts of the raises and the state’s standing in national rankings. Expect Gov. Cooper and legislative Democrats to make higher teacher pay a top priority next year.

I’m particularly chaffed that the teacher pay scale holds individual teachers at the same rate for several years.  Between year 15 and year 24, the pay is expected to be the same. ($5,000 a month.) I’m not complaining about teacher pay; others have it much worse. Some have it better.

Of course, the salary schedule will probably be completely reworked again this year. 

Most People Think Teachers Should be Paid More…

Kind of. Sort of.
They also said they’d never do what we do for as little as we get. (That’s news?)
A new study by the Varkey Foundation:
The US public think that teachers are underpaid by $7,500. While wages for a starting secondary school teacher have remained largely stagnant in the US since 2013, hovering at just over $44,000 per annum, five years ago people considered this to be more than what they thought was a fair wage ($41,000).
Today, they consider it to be markedly below a fair wage, which they now
place at around $51,500. This is just above the minimum salary US respondents said they would consider to become a teacher ($51,000)
Like a lot of surveys, it is subject to bias. People are very generous with teacher salaries when their taxes are not on the line. Also, there’s a difference between what I think someone should be paid, and what I would accept. I think certain blue collar jobs are worth in the area of $25,000 a year, but I wouldn’t work really hard, physical labor for anything less than twice that figure.
You know what we call people who would never teach for less that $51,000 a year?
I dunno.  But we don’t call them teachers.  Not around here, anyway.

Are Teachers in North Carolina Paid Too Much?

Or is the pay schedule designed to kick experienced teachers out of the profession?

Carl Mumpower is the Buncombe GOP Chair and he called some teachers liars as they lobby for Democrats this election cycle:

The Tribine:

Don’t tell anyone who works for state government, but their wage increases have been half of what teachers have received during the same period. While protecting the pockets and prosperity of taxpayers, Republican leadership is attempting to address that wrong too, but don’t look to the teacher lobby to share those balancing concerns.

Mumpower doesn’t say we’re overpaid, but mentions salary increases of late:

2014 – 7 percent

2015 – 3.8 percent

2016 – 4.7 percent

2017 – 3.3 percent

2018 – 6.2 percent

His point is that Republicans have been good for teachers, while many folks figure electing Democrats is the best way to increase teacher pay.

 

The NCAE of course wants to change the pay of teachers, and fix an obvious problem in the pay scale:

NCAE goals

What’s wrong with the pay scale? Take a look:

PAY SCALE

Lets assume that a teacher with 15 years of experience is only worth $50,000 a year plus supplement and benefits.  That same individual can look forward to a raise in a short ten years, according to this plan. A raise of $2,,000 a year. <-Sentence fragment. <-Another sentence fragment.

{Parents: A teacher supplement is a contribution by the local school district.  Some teachers earn an extra 4 to 5% above what you see above.  Other districts are far more generous. Wake County has a 17.25% supplement for beginning teachers.  Some districts have no supplement. That’s a subject for another day. Here’s a good article on the issue.]

Some parents might look at this and mention that fifty grand is a lot for ten months work, no weekends…etc.  Fine. That’s a debate which I welcome.

I never speak loudly about how poorly teachers are paid, in part because I know others are struggling. The state employees I know are hurting, with their pay increases barely covering inflation.  People in the private sector have gone without raises far longer than teachers, based upon my friends’ stories.

Call me stubborn, or selfish. I still consider the schedule to be an insult to experienced teachers. In fact, I think it was designed to kick experienced teachers out the door, to replace them with $35,000 a year beginners.

North Carolina is in a regional competition for talented teachers.  Additionally, now that the economy is improving, teachers have more opportunities for lateral moves into other fields. It will be increasingly difficult to retain quality teachers.  Is pay the only factor? No. Never.

But…

As my dad always said, “Money is not everything, but it seems to mean a lot to the people I owe money to.”

Related:

Hurricane, beaches, teacher pay highlight NC Senate 8 race

South of the Border:

South Carolina has a $177 million surplus. State workers, teachers want their share