As I have said before, I am the daughter of a public school teacher. This has allowed to see first hand how hard my mother works. During the school year, it’s not uncommon for her to spend more time at school than she does at home. During high school, even with all my various after-school activities, I would still be surprised if she was ever home before I was. I have had great teachers. Just like my mom, I see how hard they work.  This is why it is so frustrating for me to see how little they are compensated for all that they do.

The average teacher salary in North Carolina is $45,933. This is approximately $10,000 less than the national average.  However, starting pay is only around $30,800 and salaries have been frozen since 2009.  In 2008, North Carolina ranked 27th for teacher pay. Nevertheless, because of the freeze and budget cuts, we have now slid down to 46th on that same list.  Prior to the new budget passing, teachers could receive a ten percent pay raise by going back to school and getting their masters degrees. In addition, they could earn their National Board Certification and receive a twelve percent hike. However, the new budget will phase out this incentive. McCrory is trying to implement a merit pay system for teachers which will reward the top 25% a $500 raise and also convert all teacher contracts to one, two, or four years long. These short contracts will make it easier to fire teachers as well as making it harder for teachers to obtain tenure. North Carolina State University reported a 17% drop in teaching education majors. I feel as though this statistic illustrates how our government is actively discouraging students from going into the teaching field because they see it spiraling down into a bleak future. If the government wants an educated generation, they have to start with investing in the people who are willing to make that happen.

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3 thoughts on “Teacher Pay

  1. The merit pay system sounds like a good idea to me, at least in theory. How will this top 25% be determined? If it is determined on numbers of kids passing, I fear that this will just increase the amount of teachers not caring about the kids actually learning but just shuffling kids through the system in hopes of getting that raise. This doesn’t help the kids, if anything it makes matters worse because they are not prepared for the next level. This also hurts the students that are above average and/or want to learn as they get bored by the teacher constantly having to drop to lower levels because kids were passed along that shouldn’t have been.
    I don’t think a teacher can accurately be rated based on numbers. I think what makes a good teacher is their interactions with their students as well as how well the students learn. My best teachers have always been the ones in whose classes I’ve understood and learned the most. Also, some teachers and teaching styles are better for some students, but not for others. For example, my friends loved our AP U.S. History teacher, but I hated him because his teaching style did not help me.
    I went on a bit of a rant, but I guess my main point of this is the first question. I’d also love to hear your opinion.

    1. I agree that the merit pay idea sounds good in theory. We all definitely have had bad teachers who have not done their job. However, I can’t see it ever working. I don’t think it is fair to judge teachers based on test scores and I feel like any other way of judgment would be subjective and biased.
      Nevertheless, as far as I know, the top 25% will be based on test scores. However, nothing has been decided or set in stone for sure yet.

  2. In my opinion, education is the most important tool and the most indicative predictor of future success you will have in your life. It blows my mind that we pay those who administer this to us so little. I think this is less of a budget/fiscal problem, but more of a priorities problem.

    Although I disagree with Governor McCrory’s merit system of changing contracts, I do believe that some type of incentive for teachers should be implemented into the education system. What is your opinion?

    Lastly, I lived in Pennsylvania before I moved to North Carolina. The teachers there were very well paid, and there was a strong demand to be a teacher. This allowed the public schools to select very talented teachers for the positions- which ultimately lead to a stronger education system. I think if North Carolina followed this lead, they would have similar results.

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