Vol.#34: “Thank God For North Carolina”

I assume many of you saw the scathing editorial in the NY Times titled “The Decline of North Carolina” about the Moral Monday protests, or at least, the political decision-making fueling them. You may have also read Governor McCrory’s response in which he asserts the wisdom of the decisions. As with the protests, he dismisses the concerns.

However, he should be concerned.

It has teachers talking, and tweeting, and facebooking about the state of the State that we are in. One colleague noted that he would get a 48% salary increase just by crossing the Connecticut state line. I’ve already posted I’d get a raise moving back to South Carolina, and with a lower cost of living.

We can all agree the entire country has been in a tough economic spot over the last decade. We might blame it on Dubya’s wars or on Obama’s healthcare, depending on our perspective or cable news source. I’m not here to debate that.

But whether you believe in merit based pay or a system that many with experience in education would consider more equitable, you should want teachers to make a living wage.

From the 2001-02 to the 2011-12 school years, the national average of teachers’ salaries fell -2.8%. One can assume the cost of living didn’t also fall during that decade in anyplace, USA, so that’s really unfortunate, especially considering how underpaid we were already.

And while this news may not surprise you, what may surprise you is how widely from state to state teachers’ salary growth (or lack thereof) has varied. I researched “Rankings of the States 2012 and Estimates of School Statistics 2013” and made this Infographic using easel.ly:


easel.ly

All differences in politics and cost of living aside, this data shows who has been working to try to provide the educators of its youth with a respectable wage.

The very “red” state of Wyoming leads the pack. Sure, they don’t have the highest teachers’ salaries in the country, but that’s not the point. From where they were, they have been working to invest in their teachers, even in the difficult economy. The “blue” states of Massachusetts and Connecticut have always had the highest average teacher’s salaries in the country (behind New York) but they did not get complacent in a bad economy and think, “We already pay well compared to the others. Let’s coast.”

The joke in education has always been, “Thank God for Mississippi.” However, they are actually better than the national average over the last decade in slowing the teachers’ salary slide. Our apologies, Mississippi.

Our nation’s teachers who see this data are likely saying, “Thank God we’re not in North Carolina”.

Governor McCrory should be concerned that North Carolinian teachers of all political persuasions are starting to agree.

About these ads

202 thoughts on “Vol.#34: “Thank God For North Carolina””

    1. Bob,

      I don’t need to “YouTube” what teachers do. I’ve been one for thirteen years and lived it myself. I can’t speak to a union, as I’ve never taught in a state with one. I CAN tell you I’ve never personally seen ANYTHING like the incident in New York. That’s based on my actual experience, not sensationalized media and internet sources. That horrible incident does not represent those in the noble teaching profession.

      Your assertion that we should not pay all teachers a living wage because of the reprehensible acts of individuals is absurd. Doctors, lawyers, police, businessmen and women, and all walks of society do not deserve to be treated as the lowest among them.

      ~Erica

      1. I totally agree with Erica and Monica. I taught for 40 years and most of the people I worked with are hard-working, dedicated educators.

      2. As a former North Carolina teacher, thirteen years, I still watch what’s going on in NC. No union, no collective bargaining, it’s unlawful. All the teacher that I’ve ever worked with always did their jobs with integrity. It is my opinion that McCroy and Tillman? are undermining public education. McCroy and the current General Assemby need to be removed from office. With what they done to the poor, unemployed, and school funding, they are not looking out for NC citizens. If it weren’t for teachers, would these men have learned about politics and government? Get rid of them:(

        1. I grew up in family of teachers who worked VERY long hours for little pay. My mother also did cheerleading coaching because she valued the opportunities it gave my younger sister when she cheered. Of course she made a fraction of what the football coaches did (middle school grades) even though they put in the same amount of time practicing in addition to the games.

          I know a Wake County teacher who has had a second job for 14 years of her teaching career so she can adequately support herself now and when she retires.

          Teacher salaries should be high enough so roommates and ramen noodle dinners are the norm. If we paid teachers adequately they would in turn have the respect they are due. Instead they work long and hard for a pittance of salary.

        2. Which part of the statistics in this graph have anything to do with McCrory? This was done under “Education Governors” Purdue and Easley, and was supposed to be addressed by the proceeds from the “Education Lottery”.

        3. Paul,

          McCrory is in charge of our state now. He has given his cabinet 8.5% raises, yet he just approved the Legislation’s budget and signed it into law. This budget:

          • Provides NO pay increases for educators. Our salary has been frozen (with no raises or step increases based on the salary schedule promised based on experience). Though he didn’t freeze it every time, he froze it this time, even after all the others.

          • While gutting public schools and educators, his budget provides $50 million private school voucher program, further pulling our funds. (By “gutting” I mean the cuts he’s implemented like: Textbook funding by $77.4 million dollars, Classroom supply funding by $45.7 million dollars; and Limited English Proficiency funding by $6 million dollars.

          • He is eliminating career status for all teachers.

          • Also thanks to him, beginning in the 2014-15 school year, educators will receive no additional pay for a masters degrees. This was one of the few ways teachers could further their career and increase pay.

          • He has eliminated the Teaching Fellows Program, once viewed as a ground-breaking program for recruiting teachers into the classroom.

          He has not done every wrong by teachers that we have experienced in North Carolina. But after long suffering, his choices are the most harsh we have endured yet.

          And that’s saying a lot.

          ~Erica

      3. Thank you Erica, Bob’s comment is ridiculous, but unfortunately indicative of how many no longer respect what we do. I love teaching, but it becomes more and more difficult every day. One of reasons is parents who think like him.

        1. I saw this, and honestly I am not sure what to think. My skeptical side points out that it came right after the huge demonstrations. NC was mentioned on Bill Maher and The Daily Show, etc, so it got national attention and therefore may have been deemed politically necessary to make a statement. Several others have already called his accounting of the numbers into question:

          http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/08/01/mccrory-claims-nc-education-budget-largest-in-history/

          But I am interested in hearing more about these 1,000 teachers that get blessed with a raise. If he is advocating for less standardized testing (which I wholeheartedly agree with) I can’t help but wonder how these selections would be made. He’s made it clear before that he’s in favor of merit-based pay, but I’m not clear on how exactly 1,000 teachers are being selected and on what merit. And what is needed from these educators in return? Do they stay in the classroom? Advise? Create material for others?

          In short, most of his answers here had me asking more questions. I guess we’ll see.

          ~Erica

    2. So… one person does something and the entire profession suffers? The logic of your argument is so flawed I hardly know where to begin.

      1. I totally agree! I am not responsible for this one not so bright incident BUT I am responsible for young children everyday….for 20 years.

      2. I feel the same way. It is tough to respond to that. If one really wants to know what is going on, he or she might consider visiting the schools where their children attend. I can guarantee, he or she will see powerful, dedicated teachers.

      3. Kevin, That strategy of “one person does something and an entire group is demeaned” is used by the left all the time. I.E. Gun control. So, if we accept the tactics for one shouldn’t we then accept them when used against our profession?

      4. Very well said. This is called “anecdotal evidence” when discussing a major, widespread issue, one pLynerson says “Well, I knew a guy who…”

    3. Are you serious? For every one terrible thing that is in the news about teachers, hundreds and thousands of positive things go unspoken. To think that somewhere, idiots like you think that it’s ok to pay teachers less and expect more out of them is absolutely absurd. I am a conservative teacher. I try to lean to the right on everything because I believe in fiscal responsibility. However, your comment is what makes good teachers want to leave the profession. What is it that you do for a living? I’m curious to see how much less you make today than you did 10 years ago.

      1. Wes, I too am a conservative teacher but I changed my party affiliation this year because of the disgusting way the NC GOP lead legislature is treating teachers. After thirty years of being an “R”, I am now an “IND”. And I do plan on voting my convictions concerning teacher salaries.

        1. If I am not mistaken, NC has now passed, or is still considering a law that would end (starting in the 2014-15 school year) supplemental pay for teachers who earn post graduate degrees. It is not a GOP or Democrat thing…we had a salary freeze with a Democratic governor also. Teachers will not see the respect they deserve until our society once again puts a value on education.

        2. Keith,

          Thank you so much for this comment. I am less interested in laying blame as I am in data analysis of the situation and enlightenment that will help us move forward. I completely agree with you that if only education were heralded as the noble profession it is, the world would be a different place.

          Many thanks for your comment.

          ~Erica

    4. There are no teachers’ unions in North Carolina. Teachers relinquish any right to form or join a union when they begin teaching in NC Public Schools.

      1. NCAE is a union….It is an extension of NEA the largest labor union in the country. I sat in front of them at last year’s National Convention…but you are right, the fact that you can not bargin in NC hinders their ability to help in many situations.

        1. Martha,
          NCAE is not a union. I am a member and a local representative. North Carolina is, unfortunately, a right-to-work state and therefore, no unions.

    5. Hi Bob,

      Your syntax is terrible… “poorly adequate” makes no sense. Did you, perchance, attend school in NC?

      1. Carol…NCAE is an advocacy group…with absolutely no bargaining power…if we complain about not getting what we want…it is falling on deaf ears in the General Assembly….

        1. The only thing NCAE is missing is the mandatory membership dues that other unions force out of teachers just for being employed. They can call strikes (but never have) and advocate for higher salaries and better conditions (which they have).

    6. Okay… so one person screwing up ruins it for everybody.

      There have been recalls made for every vehicle manufacturer. So I’m assuming you walk everywhere.

      Several incidences of E. coli being present on fresh leafy greens have taken place. So I’m assuming you made the unhealthy decision to never eat salad again.

      Quite a few fathers have been arrested and thrown in prison for molesting, abusing, and raping their children. So I’m assuming you had a vasectomy and are a strong advocate for no one ever having children for the rest of time.

      You, sir, are one thing that is wrong with our schools and children today. Teachers are responsible for passing along knowledge; and not just knowledge contained within a certain content. We try our best to reinforce the positive messages parents and families instill in their children while trying to reverse the negative teachings that parents and families (like you) try to instill in their children.

      Teachers have thrown themselves in front of bullets to try to protect children. Teachers have shielded children from falling debris during tornadoes. We feed kids when they forget their lunch money or their parents don’t have enough for lunch; we give them clothes when they can’t afford them; we are a shoulder to cry on; we give a hand to hold; we care for them when they’re sick.

      And when we do all of this, people like you praise us in one breath… “Oh… thank God you were there to help my child!” And in the next breath, you deplore our asking of a simple thing like trying to keep up with the standard of living or a small bonus to help us pay for school supplies or job security.

      So, Bob… why don’t you just [f***] off and wallow in your Fox News-loving, disgusting ego.

      (I spent a little while trying to figure out what phrase other than “[f***] off” I could use… but nothing seemed to fit.)

      [Comment edited by moderator]

      1. Samantha,

        I am with you! I agree with 99.9% of everything you just said. In the south, they use the term “Bless Your Heart”…which really is a respectable way of telling someone to flip off.

        So for Bob, he’s a poor misguided conservative closed minded individual whose only source of less than credible information comes from Fox News. Bless his heart. Let the man revel in his ignorance, for we know that in Social Darwinism, it’s those with similar minds that perish in the end. Just ask Adolf.

      2. Chris… I’m a NC teacher… so I hear “Bless your heart” a lot. And I just felt like it was too nice of a phrase to use for our friend Bob.

      3. You both had me nodding in agreement until you decided to trot out the idiotic fox-news-is-the-devil trope. Casual prejudice doesn’t flatter anyone’s intelligence, whether directed at religious institutions or journalistic ones. Are you stating categorically that the events in his linked article did not occur as reported? Someone linked one article, therefore you know what he loves? And if so, what would any of that have to do with whether Bob had a legitimate point or not? Is whatever Bob assumes about how much you must love MSNBC relevant to this discussion? Is this the kind of critical thinking you try to instill in children? When you assume, you make an ass out of you. When Fox reports that breathing is good for you, and you decide to disbelieve them because, hey, “it’s Faux Nooz!”, let us know how that works out for you. You may make an excellent case for teachers, and you may be right the article on New York isn’t pertinent to NC, but your own disgusting egos show just as much casual bigotry as Bob, and I cringe that you feel the self-entitled right to second-guess parents’ teachings with your own selective conceits of “positive and negative.” How about reading, writing, and arithmetic, and keep your pompous social engineering away from other people’s kids?

        You’re right about one thing; just because you’re screwing it up and need to be fired, doesn’t mean the gratitude for teachers doing it right is ruined for everybody else.

      4. Samantha, you are now committing the same offense that you so eloquently speak out against. I too, watch Fox news, but in no way do I agree with anything said by Bob above. Surely you did not mean to generalize and imply that all Fox news viewers have the same opinion as Bob.

        1. One other thing…if you teach kids to think, you give them the power to decide for themselves. A teacher’s job is to give knowledge, not program kids’ minds as to our own opinion of right and wrong. Teach them to think, and teach them to be tolerant of those who think differently. Maybe in 15-20 years, we will have some decent politicians in office instead of the egotistical, lying, brats that we have today (on both sides of the aisle).

    7. Bob, Please do at least a little research before spouting untruths online. There is NO TEACHER union in NC. Our state is a ‘Right to Work” state which prohibits public unions and allows for hiring and firing at will. As for your rhetoric concerning paycuts versus pay raises, again sir, please get your facts right. We are funded per pupil at 48 th in the nation and no I am not referring to teacher salaries I am referring to money provided to teach with. Even with this abysmal funding level NC ranks top 20 in the nation in EVERY measurable category. You sir, have made a fool of yourself with your short sighted and unfounded statement. I will close by telling YOU and anyone with the courage to face the truth, some hard truths. Teachers ARE already fleeing the state for border states. Teachers are already working two and three jobs to support their families. I hope and pray you have no children sir, because to subject them to such mindless drivel as you have shared here, would be an injustice.

    8. Bob — I am not sure what you do for a living. You might be a doctor or a lawyer or a firefighter or a waiter or an accountant. Whatever you do, I guarantee you there are some people who do your job who are absolutely awful at it. I’m also sure that there are people in your profession who have been arrested for rape. However, I suspect you would not agree that their poor job performance or even their reprehensible crimes should give your employer cause to lower YOUR pay.

    9. I’m a teacher AND a Catholic and find your inane comment to be disturbing on so many levels. Using your logic, all cops are bad because a cop somewhere did something illegal and all firemen are bad because one lit a fire once. From your chopped use of the English language, it’s clear that you never internalized whatever education you received. Keep watching your low-brow, party-pandering, mind-numbingly simplistic broadcast channels and allow those of us who are educated (of all political parties) to discuss a trending topic with a degree of logic and intellect. Simpleton!

    10. Bob is a troll – rule #1 of the internet is “do not feed the trolls”. Seriously folks, don’t waste your ire on him and his ilk, instead let’s focus on fighting the good fight.

      NCAE may not be the strongest voice, but it’s the best voice we have. The more of us that stand up united against things like merit pay, furloughs, larger class-sizes, etcetera the better we will be in the long run. If you haven’t already, consider joining.

    11. Yes, let’s do some scholarly research and look up YouTube videos for validation. While we’re at it, might as well throw in a wikipedia reference or two.

      I think you may have been the product of a system where your teachers aren’t paid well. Do you think we should pay corporate CEOs millions of dollars a year with hundred-thousand dollar Christmas bonuses, too? Because they need to attract the “best”, right? But when it comes to education and attracting the “best”, people aren’t willing to pay the taxes to support it. Perhaps if we stopped spending so much on weapons and more on learning we could dramatically help the situation. Investing in education is a long-term reward that can continue to benefit society over and over. However, not investing in education can have devastating effects for future generations.

    12. Bob, there is no teacher’s union in North Carolina. And, yes, I would agree that many teachers now in North Carolina are not qualified to teach their subjects. In the middle school I work at there are no math teachers who majored or minored in math in college. Only one of the science teachers has a degree in science. And, only about 30% of the social studies and ELA teachers have their degrees or even minors in the subjects they teach. We have unqualified teachers and that is because truly qualified people don’t apply. The bulk of those who were quailified moved on. We can’t even keep unqualified/incompetent people…Last year, there were SIX different people in one science class. And, the average middle school student lasts longer in the school than the average teacher does. Now, Bob, how would paying teachers less solve the problem? You wouldn’t teach for the money. Not many will. It is the case that people just are unwilling to do it unless they are stuck and can’t find anything else.

    13. Typical “argument by anecdote” tactic of a conservative…”oh yeah, I knew someone who blah, blah, blah, horror story, blah, blah, blah.” Confronted by data and the need to think, the response is scary stories.

    14. Funny, North Carolina is a non-union state. Please visit your local school and see what good things are happening.

    15. So how does this work? McCrory’s term started in 2013 and we are attempting to hold him accountable for 2001-2012. Those are Easley & Perdue years. Ignorance must be so blissful!

      1. Nick,

        Nothing in the original post says I am holding McCrory accountable for 2001-12. The budget which they are currently crafting and the national spotlight on policy (NYTimes) has prompted a dialogue amongst educators. I explain this in my second paragraph. While it’s true that typically blue states pay teachers better, this list shows states where the teacher’s average salary has risen vs. fallen. You’ll note it does not fall on red states/blue states lines. I discussed that in the post, too.

        I am more interested in fixing it than pointing blame. Gov. McCrory and the current legislation are the ones tasked with the care of our state now. It is my fervent hope that this historical perspective and a better understanding of teachers’ current frustrations, both from this infographic of data and from the experiences witnessed in comments here by educators, help them make better decisions than we have experienced thus far.

        ~Erica

    16. In the state of North Carolina you are not allowed to join a union, also a pay decrease? So you want the people who are in charge of preparing or nations future making as much as a janitor… Clearly you are uneducated

      1. Actually, we have the North Carolina Association of Educators. Not a union per se, but still a lobbying organization. It’s membership is voluntary, not mandated just because you were hired as a teacher.

        That’s a long way from being forbidden to join a union at all.

    17. Really? Just really. You know what is going to happen if the pay continues to lower? Teachers who are intelligent and who are great teachers are going to become tired of working so hard to inspire the next generation when all they receive is a mediocre pay check and insults from people like you. I just graduated from college. I am supposed to start my first teaching job this fall and am also pursing my Master’s degree. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with my BS in Spanish Ed, and, you know what, once I have my Masters I probably won’t teach in public schools because the pay is so much lower than what I could get in other places: places where I won’t have to take work home, where I won’t have to deal with upset parents, where I don’t have to worry about every single word I say for fear of offending someone and getting fired. I want to teach with all my heart, but, you know what, if it comes to a point where I have to pick whether to support my family or to teach, my family wins every time.
      Also, take a second look before you make generalizations. Every teacher I know fights for every student they have, cares about what is going on in their lives, and truly loves teaching. So, do me a favor take a walk in their shoes before you start judging how much they should make.

    18. Dure right teachers need to be paid good based on the pressure of Federal, State and county put on teachers to educate for high test scores required by all just so they can look good

    19. The article you reference has nothing to do with teacher pay. It has to do with an independent party being charged. One of the founding principles of America is that we are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The article has nothing to do with teachers. It has to do with a citizen who is on trial… Please relate your point to the article at hand! In what way, shape, or form does this have anything to do with the Catholic Religion? Why are you trying to reach in order to relate an accused teacher to the Catholic Religion… the largest religious group in the world? What alternative motives are driving your accusations?

    20. First off, let’s don’t give too much weight to someone talking about education who would string together the description “poorly adequate.” Cutting back on teacher compensation was an easy sell for state legislators — people who don’t have kids in school don’t care and those who have no idea now difficult the job is think teacher’s have it made. It would be similar to all of us voicing our opinion about whether legislators are over compensated

    21. Unfortunate for you, Bob. Not only do you choose to follow and believe only sensational news, but you categorize teachers according to those few. If I were to guess, I’d say you were educated by the ones you deem us all to be. Unfortunate.

    22. Bob, are you kidding me? I am not going to be as polite as others here: you are clearly an ass with no understanding – in this instance – of how it all works. Do your opinion a favor and read a book about the subject. Any education, social, etc. expert – even the freakin’ politicians setting the salaries – knows the less you pay, the less attractive a position is to skilled workers. Teaching requires skilled workers. North Carolina, for instance, offers no incentive – as of this year – for teachers to receive a Master’s degree in their field or in teaching (and guess which teachers are quantifiably better). In the international arena, we call this phenomenon “brain drain” – skilled workers seeking opportunities elsewhere. The reason why our system stocks is because the people who are great at their job are working more in a day than you can dream of and the profession now only attracts people who aren’t excellent (the “excellent” benchmark by which all of our expectations regarding education and our children should be set).

  1. I was so happy to retire…did not finish my 30 years. 28 YEARS WAS ENOUGH TIME NOT BEING APPRECIATED!! Teachers are looked at as trash jobs that nobody wants!! We are not the reason the economy is in its sorry state!! BUT FOR SOME REASON POLITICANS PAY US LESS AND LESS TO FIX THEIR MESS!!

  2. Bob, may I ask you to clarify what you mean by “poorly adequate teachers” and “leading the way in tomorrow’s youth?” I’m sorry, but your misuse of adverbs as modifiers and poor choice of prepositions have made your sentence unclear. I’m sure a local English teacher or elementary school teacher would be happy to tutor you to improve your grammar and written expression. Before you criticize educators, please have the decency to ask someone to proofread your work.

  3. You do realize that the bottom of that list are all states that spent irresponsibly during the last economic boom time and were hit particularly hard by the economic collapse. In the case of NC Democrats were in charge and would not listen to people telling them they needed to slow it down. Once we had high unemployment, there was less revenue coming in. Since there was nothing to fall back on, cuts had to be made. I can’t say I agree with everything the Republicans are doing. It think some of the cuts they made are just plain stupid. However, cuts needed to be made because the state was broke and during an economic downturn taxing people more is not the answer. I would have rather the cuts been made at the administrative level where a great deal of waste takes place on a daily basis. In fact, really getting to the root of the waste problem across all aspects of state government would have likely taken care of a large portion of the problem and made many of the other cuts that were made unnecessary. While I don’t agree with much of what the Republicans are doing, I have to say I don’t envy their position either. To borrow a phrase from the Democrats at the federal level, “they inherited this mess”. Screwing it up more is not an excuse for Obama at the federal level, nor is it one for the Republican leadership in NC.

    My question is what do any of you intend to do about it? Vote Democrat? That laughable option will give the majority back to the other group of idiots that helped start this mess. I suggest voting Libertarian. At the state level, they are not a bad group and giving them a chance for once would be preferable to letting the 2 groups that made the mess continue to have power.

    1. For the first time since the 1980 elections, I WILL DO EXACTLY that. The GOP is running roughshod over teachers and its vindictive in nature. Also sir, your data is flawed. The NC budget is indeed strained but based on the facts is in much better shape than the other 40 or so states listed above it. Had Gov Perdue’s 1/2 cent sales tax passed, teachers would have seen a modest raise. The GOP stood on that. Their arguement then was a sales tax would hurt the poor. Their argument today is that increasing sales taxes is the answer to our economic woes. The GOP has abandoned the children of NC through malice and disturbingly poor decision making. I will indeed vote for the greater of two evils if that is what is required to right this ship.

    2. You do realize we were on track to run a surplus this year, right? And in the midst of that they are slashing social programs to cover new tax cuts. NC as a state has weathered the recession really well overall. It’s the areas hit by NAFTA years ago (and globalization) that are really struggling to recover.

      1. I agree, you want to fix the problem with education in North Carolina you need to fix the problem with the economy in the state, the greater the tax base, the greater the education system. Raise the tariffs on things imported and use that money to fund education. Force companies to bring industry back into the state by making it more expensive for them to produce their products overseas. In my life time I have watched North Carolina go from being an economic powerhouse with Big Tobacco, Furniture, Textiles, Banking, Ma Bell, etc., to being a state with industrial ghost towns. We have allowed the government to make it easier and easier for companies to produce their products overseas and then wonder why our public sector is in the financial trouble it is in. Hold your government, your companies responsible for the root of the problem, allowing American made to become a thing of the past and china, India and other countries to become the suppliers of what we buy and use. Bring industry back, that brings the tax base up that funds our public education system. Problem solved.

        1. This comment nailed it. Hopefully the new tax plan will attract more companies to build in NC instead of letting cmpanies like BMW assemble autos in SC

        2. I agree 100% with everything you said about bringing our industries back to the US. Unemployment also keeps getting worse because we are replacing people with machines. We are outsourcing telephone answering services thereby replacing our citizens with machines or foreigners. We are now utilizing only one person to collect garbage by utilizing a machine that has replaced two workers.
          It used to take a driver and one or two persons to load the garbage and now those people are unemployed. We are sending our businesses overseas. We give millions to foreign aid when we have homeless people and people living in poverty that are not receiving the aid they need. Thousands are living without the medical care needed because they cannot afford the ridiculous price of medical insurance. The list could go on and on but the point is that our leaders need to take a good look at the problems in the US and do something about it. Channeling our tax money in appropriate directions would certainly help. For instance: channel money going towards subsidizing big businesses to help provide low cost insurance for our lower socioeconomic citizens. Channel defense spending to fund education. Salary freezes on our congressmen and senators, etc., would also provide a big chunk of money needed for more important things. Revamping the tax system to make it fair would certainly help. It is time that big businesses, the ultra wealthy, and other so called non profit groups paid their share of the taxes instead of leaving it up to the lower and middle classes. I am a retired teacher and remember spending $500 to $600 annually on school supplies that were not provided by the school systems in order to provide what my students needed.

    3. And former Governor Mike Easley embezzling money from the state means what? Democrat OR Republican, anyone who embezzles money is a criminal, plain and simple. (Let’s not forget Jim Black either for goodness sake).

    4. Kendall,

      You’ll notice the post does not blame only one side. The chart merely shows the change in average teacher’s salaries.

      When you say:

      “I would have rather the cuts been made at the administrative level where a great deal of waste takes place on a daily basis.”

      Please rest assured: They have cut the fat, slashed the muscle, and sawed through the bone. That’s the frustration here.

      This is not where it started. It’s where it has to stop.

      ~Erica

    5. Yes, let us all vote Libertarian so that our votes truly will not matter. Better yet, let’s just write in Mickey Mouse and see if we can get him elected. It’ll make the same difference as voting Libertarian. Talk about a laughable option!

  4. The teachers in North Carolina are under appreciated and under paid. I left NC to teach overseas 2 years and over doubled my salary to teach the same common core cucurriculum being taught in NC schools.. At my American International School am appreciated well paid and work with administration that supports me and strives to make our students active global citizens. In the community I am treated with honor and respect from the locals because they feel the person responsible for the education of their children is the important job that exists. … I feel sorry when I read of the decline of my home state, but alas I had the feeling this was coming several years ago.

    1. I too left NC through Teach For America (which is an entire ‘nother argument for an entire ‘nother day!), and have received a 40% pay increase and far more support from the school district where I work. I have only just begun teaching here this year, but have been welcomed by a completely different attitude than I worked within for nearly 4 years while in NC.

  5. And be wary of those numbers as they appear. Many of them are aggregates or averages. The average, mainstream teacher in New York will not be seeing a 10% increase in his or her salary. But, our governor has put some things in his budget that will allow targeted educators to receive significant increases. Not to mention, plenty of them are being laid off anyway.

    1. Kris,

      You bring up a very important point. These are averages. It does NOT reflect “raises”. So, states that have done better job keeping their more experienced teachers also fair better on this list. I started to make that point in the original post, but feared it would run too long. Little did I know the comments would evolve into this detailed dialogue!

      This means that it’s not about a “10% pay increase” for one individual type of teacher in that state, but on average the teachers there fair 10% better than they did before.

      Great point! Thanks for posting it. Cheers!

      ~Erica

  6. I agree that teachers in general are not appreciated in this country. I also have no faith in any politician, as they say what they think we want ot hear while campaigning ” I will not sign any abortion restricting legislation” then once in office do as they please. While as a teacher I feel the frustration of hearing ” you didn’t go in to teaching to become rich” I did expect to earn a decent living. I am close to retirement and find it sad that I make $10,000. less now than I did ten years ago. So now when my pension amount is being determined I make less and thus my pension will also be lower. When and where does it stop? If I were younger, I would pack my bags and find a state that would pay me a decent salary. I encourage new teachers to consider where NC is heading. It isn’t any where most of us want to go.

  7. And Bob…how many classrooms have you actually spent time in? And how many children have you truly gotten to know?

  8. Professions have different trajectories. Teachers choose comfort, relatively lower challenge and risk, and security in exchange for less money relative to jobs which have more stringent requirements. I respect the teaching profession as much as any other, but really, the skill curve for teaching compared to something like research in a university, or IT, or Software engineering…well it’s damn near flat. As an outsider, it can appear at times that teachers want a parade for doing the job which they chose to do. If you were fortunate enough to have the brains and resources to attend college, you had choices. You chose the profession. It has A LOT more security than most. The trade off is lower pay. It also means your economic fortune/misfortune will be tied to government policy. If that wasn’t acceptable, then you may have made the wrong decision. It’s also fairly obvious that education of children isn’t very important to the government – they’ve never given enough incentives for the best and brightest to move into the profession. These are facts which are and were readily apparent. I’m not saying you have no claim to want a raise, we all want more after all, but I don’t see many(actually any) teachers taking responsibility for the choices that were made by them.

    1. Lower challenge? Come teach for a year, and you’ll learn what a real challenge is. Your mindset is what fuels the feeling that teaching is a simple profession for simple-minded people. What a crock! If it’s such a simple job, why did a woman who left the nursing profession to teach a health occupations class at my high school tell me that she was leaving teaching to go BACK to nursing because teaching was the toughest job she had ever had in her life? A nurse said that! I appreciate your respect for my profession, but the idea that teaching isn’t challenging is ridiculous.

      1. Lower Challenge? Please explain that to me? I have worked 14 years in education, 12 of those in special education. I have been bit, spit on, screamed at, punched in the stomach and called every name in the book and this was all in my experiences in regular education in the last 2 years. Please tell me Risk where the comfort and lower challenge is? I work hard for the little money I get paid. I am a teacher assistant who from year to year never know if I will have a job. Someone needs to remember that teacher assistants are valuable as well. The whole budget issue needs to be rethought and those that think they know need to come spend an hour ( I know they wouldn’t last a whole day) in a clasroom. Walk in our shoes!

    2. I’m not sure you’ve really spent much time thinking about the teaching profession. To call it comfortable, when I know teachers that work 60+ hour weeks is not really accurate. To call it lower challenge when teachers must deal with some of the most narcissistic, entitled behaving children and still get them to learn the subject matter at hand is ridiculous. And finally you call it low risk and high security. But you go on later to say that their economic fortune/misfortune is tied to government policy, and that government considers them not that important. That doesn’t sound like low risk and high security to me.

      The environment in which teachers in NC work today is markedly worse than it was 5 years ago, or 10 years ago. Teacher salaries were held constant for roughly 5 years (aka, no cost of living adjustments), then McCrory and his friends got into office, and the next thing you know, McCrory and his friends are getting an 8% pay raise (what’s up with that anyway, it’s not like they had their pay held constant for the last 5 years, unlike the teachers) and they start trying to push through legislation to do away with the merit increases in teacher salaries that you get for having a Masters degree in education or for being national board certified.

      So why are no teachers “taking responsibility for the choices they made” as you put it? Because what’s happening to them today is colloquially called “Getting f**ked 10 ways to Sunday”, and not a one of them signed up for that. Because they signed up for a job as a teacher, at a certain salary and a certain growth pattern, does not mean they implicitly agreed to the screwing they are getting now and your suggestion that they did and they should take responsibility for doing so is just plain asinine.

      1. Thanks for your honest assessment of our situation. I’m entering my 18th year in NC Publlc Schools. No Child Left Behind has rapidly become No Child Left Ungraduated as miracle after miracle occurs at graduation time.

    3. I left teaching to go back to law school. I figured if I was going to work 60+ hour weeks, I might as well get paid for them. (And the summers off thing is BS. You have to take classes every summer and/or work to afford classroom supplies.) I loved the kids and loved teaching them, but it just wasn’t worth the lack of respect from the community and ridiculously low pay. My first year as an attorney I (happily) paid more in taxes than I earned (gross pay) in my highest paid year as a teacher. And it was easier and much less stressful to be a lawyer than to be a teacher.

      When you don’t pay your dedicated teachers a living wage, they become much less dedicated and find more lucrative professions. Keep it up and there will be nobody left to teach your kids.

    4. Are you kidding me? Just by your “low challenge’ statement, you exemplify the ignorance that laypeople have regarding the most rewarding yet most frustrating profession. Please, come teach one 90 minute class in my classroom. Handle the 49 15 and 16 year olds in a health class the last class period of the day like one of my closest friends did. yes, 49 students. by yourself. Keep them 100% engaged in a lesson that you worked on for 2 hours so that you will keep them engaged and on task. Evaluate the individual learning style of each student in order to maximize their learning style. I was fortunate as I only had 38 kids in my Honors Physics class. Let those youngsters be working on their lab experiment while other kids come slam your classroom door because they think it is fun to run the halls with no consequences for their actions. Oh, wait, I can hear your thought: “Well, if they don’t want to learn it is their fault/.” Wrong, Einstein! I am responsible for the education of every child that graces my classroom. It is MY job. PLEASE, come spend 90 minutes in my classroom teaching my kids.

    5. I am not sure where you developed this line of thinking, however, it couldn’t possibly be based on any actual experience you have had with an educator, students, or any other aspect of what it requires to be a classroom teacher. Interestingly enough, we had a high-powered firm volunteer to spend just one day in our school, each one taking over for a classroom teacher, as I said, for merely one day. When we ate lunch together with them, mid-day mind you, they were simply overwhelmed and exhausted, and expressed to us they all had a new-found respect for teachers. They also said they never realized the prep work involved, and some reported to us they had spent an entire week or more preparing for just one day, while others told us they had stayed up most of the night before, going over their lessons because they were so nervous about being with the students the next day. They really enjoyed the experience, however, honestly reported to us they wouldn’t trade jobs with us for anything, that their jobs were much easier, relaxed, and less-stressful by far! (Plus they said not being able to go to the restroom, use their cell phones, or take a break at will was very foreign to them!) We, on the other hand, chose not to ridicule them, for we know just how challenging our profession is, we know that most of us are highly qualified for those challenges, and that our hard work and efforts benefit our students’ lives. Instead, we replied that we would love to spend a day trading places with them sometime! You never know another until you walk a mile in their shoes, and we shouldn’t pretend we do.

    6. You fail to take into account that when these teachers decided to go into the field there was a pay schedule in place that included MODEST pay increases and there was a historical precedent of growth and most of them were getting paid stipends by the counties which has all but stopped. You have to understand when you talk about the “trajectory” of a teaching career in NC that the state and counties keep lowering the trajectory. Teachers are not asking for more, they are trying to stop the backslide into less. Given that a teacher in NC has to work 24 years before they make the average STARTING salary for a college grad its amazing that we even have to have this conversation. I know a lot of young teachers and right now the good ones are trying to get out fast while the mediocre ones are just hanging out. Pretty soon all NC will be left with for teachers are those who have no other options. This is not driven by economics it is part of a systematic ideologically driven effort in this state to minimize public education in favor of vouchers and private schools.

  9. Teachers of NC unite. How far do we have to beat you down before you rise up and join with the only group that will ever have your back through the good times and the bad, your peers, your brothers and sisters. Unionize. Lincoln, Kennedy, both Roosevelts, Wahington, the First Amendment, the LAW and GOD Almighty are on your side. Many be harmed, attacked and unjustly vilified in the struggle. What have you got left to lose? Take back that which has been yours all along; the right to collectively bargain for living wages, respect, a seat at the table, security for you and your families.

    Labor is Entitled to All it Creates

  10. Why are we not using NC Education lottery funds to pay budget shortfalls and pay our teachers the salary that they well deserve. I am not sure that the funds that are collected from the lottery are going to the intended recipients. I would think that the money could be distributed differently if the need is there.

    http://www.nc-educationlottery.org/about.aspx

    1. Because the whole Education Lottery thing is a scam. It would help if you first had an education budget that was enough to run the schools without the lottery’s help, and then you added the lottery funds and used them to by extra things, like iPads for classrooms, raise teacher salaries, etc. Instead, they reduce the overall school budgets by a similar amount of money to what they take in from the lottery so that instead of boosting the spending on education, the spending stays about the same, it just comes from a different source now.

  11. I have mixed emotions about teachers pay…With all the teacher work days they have now and off over two-three months a year (summer break), I would like to make what they do and have summers off and 2 week long vacations at Christmas etc. However, I also know that they-in a lot of the cases) are the only “teaching” some children are getting..so it is hard for me to ‘have an opinion” on pay increases for teachers.
    On another subject, I do know that our governor is trying to stop people from making a career of living off the government. He is trying to bring jobs here instead of letting people make ‘careers’ of ‘drawing’ welfare, food stamps, etc.
    I wish our citizens would have more pride in themselves etc. that we could make this a great state. However too many citizens have ‘jumped’ on the ‘if it’s free…it’s for me….band-wagon.’

    1. Patty,

      Thanks for you comment. You should know that teachers are not paid for the summer months. That’s a common misconception. Also, being paid by the state is not welfare. Taxes are used for goods and services needed for the people, like roads and education.

      Best,

      Erica

    2. Our teacher workdays have really been cut. Almost all of them require us to meet with teachers across the county in order to collaborate, but it’s not done effectively. So time in our classroom doing actual work is limited to right before school starts in August, after school and on some Saturdays, and after students leave in June.

    3. I love it when people want to talk about all the time off teachers get in the summer and so on and so forth. Since I generally work about 60 hours a week during the school year, I consider this pay for of of the hours I spent doing lesson plans and grading after 3:15 during the school year, for all of the Sundays I was stuck doing schoolwork instead of enjoying my family, for all the dinners I missed at home because I was at school or a school event. Yes, teachers EARN the time off we get, because we are NOT paid for the hours we work.

      Today is July 15. Since my last official day of school, June 14, I have spent one week chaperoning students at a journalism camp and one week attending a class (that my school did NOT pay for me to take) so that I could learn new skills to share with my students next year. I’ve also worked on school stuff at least five full days. Yep, I’m just sitting around this summer, laughing at all the people I know who are working. Seriously? I’m sure when you go on vacation, you spend huge hunks of your vacation time doing work for your job. Right?

      I used to encourage my own students to consider teaching as a career, because I considered the time off from school at Christmas and in the summer an added benefit. Today, I don’t think it’s enough of a benefit to make up for what I’m missing in salary. I make less today than I did five years ago. Do you? I mean, if you’re still in the same job you had five years ago, are you making the same salary you made five years ago? I highly doubt it. And like some others have said on here, I’m nearing retirement age and my pension will be determined by my salary in these final years of full-time employment. Does it seem appropriate to you that I’m working HARDER today than ever — thank you, Common Core — but I’m making less?

      And for the record, my students perform at a level that FAR exceeds the average students, winning state and national awards for their efforts. So, I’m not a slacker, holding my hands out for something I didn’t earn. My former students are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc., and I am blessed to hear from them that I made a difference in their lives. You can’t buy that; I consider that part of the benefits of my job as well. I make a difference in the lives of young people. I just wish the state legislature would see how unfair it is that we in this state are not being justly compensated for the work we do.

      Look at the chart again. Are you saying that it’s NOT embarrassing to see North Carolina at the bottom of that list????? Do you have children? Do you care who teaches them? You need to care.

      1. I agree whole heartedly!! I wonder if things would change if these politicians sons or daughters were teachers by profession. I dare say they would want their own kids going through what teachers in this state are going through. Then for the idiotic comment above about us “choosing our profession”… Yes we did choose to teach. What we didn’t choose was for the yearly cost of living increase we were promised upon signing up to teach in NC to be smashed and completely disregarded. Too bad there isn’t a teachers union in this state.l I dare say there wouldn’t be a teacher one not in the picket line!!!

    4. First of all I am a 10 month employee and I do not get paid for my summer break which is 2 months. Work days are not days off. I must be at work at the same time and leave at the same time and I work very hard on those days. Planning lessons, working on grades/report cards, parent conferences, staff development/ workshops, and much more.

      A typical day I get up at 5 and leave for school at 6:30. From 7-7:45 I am preparing for the day. I have students from 7:45-3:15 every day. Most days I have my students every minute of the day with no breaks at all. No planning, no restroom break, I even have to eat lunch with my students in the student cafeteria at the students table. Then I clean my room, grade papers, work on lesson plans and so on till about 5 pm everyday. So I am at the school from 6:45 am to 5 pm everyday with little to no breaks not even for a bathroom break. Then I still take work home. Ask my wife and she will tell you I am grading papers, doing lesson plans, calling parents almost every night.

      I have taught 15 years and have never had a duty free lunch. I only get 2 planning sessions per week for a total of 2 hours. State law in NC states teachers get duty free lunch everyday and 5 hours of planning per week. I again never get duty free lunch and get 2 hours of planning per week. Also if a resource teacher such as computer or music is absent or busy my planning gets cancelled. I lost 31 of my planning sessions this past school year.

      I teach math so let me break this down for you. I teach 36 weeks and by law I am to receive 5 hours planning per week or 180 hours for the year. I actually got 2 hours per week plus I lost 31 hours because they were cancelled which means I received 41 hours of planning. This is ridiculous and that doesn’t even count the 20 minutes of duty free lunch per day I have never had which equates to 60 hours.

      I moved to NC 15 years ago from West Virginia. I attended college there and did my student teaching there. I had duty free lunch everyday and 1 hour of planning everyday. I miss that extra time to use the bathroom, eat in peace, and get s little work done so I don’t have to take so much home at night. My mom and dad both taught for over 30 years in WV and never had to eat lunch with students and always had at least 1 hour or more planning per day. My wife never went to college and has no college degree yet got a job at a bank making the same salary as me with better insurance. She worked there 9 years then she got a job at State Farm making more than me. By the way she never has brought work home.

      People don’t realize how hard we work and how little we get in return. They say you get all summer off or you get to play with kids all day. I have a huge responsibility everyday the lives of dozens of kids are in my hands to teach, protect, instill morals, and so much more. I have to no medical issues and at times administer meds. I am trained in CPR and first aid and am on my schools crisis team. I feel like a nurse sometimes. On the crisis team I protect and help kids in certain situations. I have broken up fights, I have been spit on, I have been bitten, I have taken drugs, alcohol, porn, and cigaretts from students. I have had to go to court multiple times and by the way I teach at a kindergarten to 6th grade elementary school. I feel like a police officer sometimes. Many of my kids have little or no manners, lack morals, have a lack of responsibility and other parentally taught issues. Sometimes I feel like a parent. If there is a disaster of any kind I become a body guard to my students.

      Why am I still here? Well I can’t afford to quit without another job but I have already been applying for other jobs in other states which is sad because it was my dream since I was I Jr. High school to live in NC. I also think it is sad because this state is going to lose good teachers and will not attract new good teachers which is hurting our children. I don’t want to brag but I consider myself one of those good ones that NC is going to lose. I have been teacher of the year, My students always have high test scores, I have high evaluations from the administrators and my principal tells me every year that I am the most requested teacher at our school. When I get the chance I am out of here not because I don’t love NC or teaching but because I can’t afford to live as a teacher in NC.

    5. Hi Patty..do you have kids in public education? I am guessing if you did, and if you paid attention, you would realize how hard teachers work, and much they work during those workdays. I think you have a pretty severe misunderstanding of what a teacher does for a living.

  12. I agree with the statement that the numbers represented are averages. Georgia has an average decrease of 5.9%, however the figure will vary greatly in different counties. I have been teaching in the same school district for 15 years. We have had step increases (based on years of experience) frozen – I am currently on a level 10 instead of 15. We have received up to 10 furlough days in a year, a difference which comes out to be roughly 2 mortgage payments.

    All the while, the state has reduced our benefits and has raised insurance premiums and co-pays. I am a single mother of three – the oldest of which is autistic. I am at risk of losing my home. I am at risk of needing to file bankruptcy. So, why don’t I leave? Why don’t I go do something else with my life? Good question.

    I stay because it is my passion.
    I stay because I am good at what I do.
    And I stay so that hopefully, the next generation will not be a ignorant at the first respondent.

  13. My wife (Master’s degree & 10 year’s experience and all around awesome at what she does) currently stays home with our children, but will likely go back to the workforce in 3 years. We moved when our first was born to NC. We have already decided that teaching is not on the list of careers. Other than the additional responsibilities that come along with being a teacher these days, the biggest reason is that the pay here is awful. It’s not worth her time. We would rather have the flexibility in another career.

    Were the pay more in line with other career options, it would be much more likely we’d try to make it work. It’s just not worth it for the money.

  14. As a mother in the state of NC, I thank all the teachers who work so hard to teach our children. Not only do you teach them, you love them, cherish them, and consider them one of your one. You serve as nurse, referee, and parent, in addition to teacher. We could not thank you (or pay you) enough for all that you do. I am saddened that we are reflecting to you through your pay that your work is not valued or valuable. Please know that there are millions of parents (and children) out there who want to give you a BIG HUG right now to say thanks. Keep up the fight and try not be discouraged; I have faith that one day we will make this right.

    1. Suzie,

      Thank you. I was getting very annoyed reading the gross misinterpretations of my profession some of the “civilians” have posted above,but your comment reminded me that many parents/taxpayers do understand how hard we work and how much we love our students. Please know how much you are appreciated!

  15. I am appalled at the ignorance of some of the individuals who have chosen to post here. Let me see if I can touch on a few…

    The last individual commented about the number of teacher workdays, Christmas vacation, and summers off as if teachers do nothing during this time period. First, there are typically about 2 – 3 teacher workdays within a school calendar year. The purpose of these days is for teachers to finalize grades so that report cards can go out on time. The workdays before the school year are to allow the teacher to prepare the classroom, obtain the necessary equipment, such as desks, chairs, etc., display important information for students and parents, etc., prepare for the arrival of their students. The workdays at the end of the school year are, again to finalize grades, determine who moves on and who remains behind, etc. Christmas is our ONLY real vacation time as summer usually involves attending workshops, seminars, and other training opportunities to hone our skills, learn about new technology, new methods, etc. Often, these are paid for out of our own pockets!!!!!

    Many misguided individuals tend to believe that teachers report to work at 8 and leave at 3. I WISH!!! Let me give you a synopsis of a typical day —– rise at 4 am, check personal e-mail, shower and dress, leave home at 5; arrive at school at 6 am, review lesson for the day, make sure everything is ready for the students’ arrival, check school e-mail, check school mailbox, finish grading papers from the night before, record in gradebook; at my door at 7:45 to greet students; bell rings at 8 am — teach 30 – 35 high school students over three different blocks with only 7 minutes between to go to the bathroom get a drink of water, and take care of anything that has arisen during the previous block; planning period — call parents, grade papers, make copies, check e-mail (again), eat lunch as you work (because you really don’t have time to do this during the 20 minute lunch period); 3 PM – clean the boards, write up tomorrow’s agenda, objectives and essential questions, ensure that all materials/supplies are available; work with students who have been absent and must make up work; 4:30 – leave school; 5:30 arrive at home, fix a bite to eat, call parents; 6:30 – 8 grade papers, responding to each child’s effort in a meaninful way; 9:30 – prepare for bed; 10:00 bedtime. I have only included a few of things I did on a typical day. I did not include meetings with guidane counselors or assistant principals regarding specific students, meeting with parents about behavioral issues or other problems, times spent in training (either during planning period or after school). Teachers don’t work 9-5!!!

    Balancing any budget on the backs of those who shoulder the responsibility of preparing young people to meet the challenges of the 21st century is not only absurd, it’s dangerous!!!

    1. That sounds so familiar. I was a student teacher a couple years ago and my schedule sounded a lot like yours. I never knew the true meaning of “not enough time in the day” until I began teaching. I was a Spanish teacher who was trying out the a new method of language teaching (called TPRS) because my host teacher had tried it the year before. Little did she know she was actually doing it all wrong, but that’s another story for another time. While I wholeheartedly believed in the value of the method, it meant I was left with no textbooks, no worksheets, quizzes, tests, lesson plan examples, etc. I had to make up ALL of it from scratch, while also dealing with students/parents/administration for the first time. Needless to say I was working 80 hour weeks while barely completing my university courses. I still resent my host teacher for not giving me a little more help or support because the day I was finished with teaching, I would never look back. I received so many sweet notes and gifts from students, and my students performed quite well. I loved the 8-hour days of TEACHING and watching my students succeed, but it just wasn’t worth the stress and effort that goes into everything else. I’m now working in an entry-level sales position mainly doing clerical work and menial tasks. What I find ironic is that I’m actually making more money doing this pathetic job than I would’ve done if I were teaching.

    1. Sub-par response from a blatherskite trying to make his opponent look ‘over-educated’, and I’m ashamed to be anywhere near paid politicians who think there is such a thing. “Does the thought of hiking taxes on North Carolina’s job creators make your Ivy League hearts flutter as fast as a new tax on Dr. Pepper?”

      Congratulations, North Carolina, we’ve elected children.

    2. Actually, that’s not a great response at all. That’s nothing more than a kid on a playground going “I’m rubber, you’re glue, what you say bounces off me and sticks on you!”. There was no substance to that article *AT ALL*. Not once did it ever mention a single fact to back up its claims. It says they are cleaning up the reckless democratic decisions, but never cites a single one of those decisions. It derides the NY Times over and over again in ad hominen attacks that are devoid of any substantial rebuttal of the original NY Times piece. If the article had bothered to argue the points instead of just being a non-stop insult fest, then it would have been interesting. The fact that you call this a “great response” makes me think you are more interested in idealogical posturing than actually discussing/arguing a point.

      1. Actually, it IS a great response. The Times’ idiotic editorial was so full of typical elitist anti-Republican crap that it deserved nothing more than the tongue-in-cheek response Pope gave. I don’t blame him for “not bothering to argue the points” made in a sub-par editorial from liberal “elites” who haven’t bothered actually researching what Democrats have done to North Carolina. At least his stuff was intentionally funny, unlike the unintentional comedic writing of the NY Times editorial board.

    3. Bill,

      You’ll notice my post does not mention anything other than the investment of teachers in these states over time – red and blue. And they’re both represented on both ends of the list.

      You keep saying “what the Democrats did to North Carolina”. You said you’ve done research. Can you please be specific? The NC GOP keep saying that, too, and I don’t understand. After all, there’s a budget surplus, and that’s not even removing the huge tax breaks the wealthy have now.

      ~Erica

  16. I completely agree with you, it is a sad state of affairs that NC is in. I am an ELEM student about to graduate in December. Nontraditional student – so I’ve been around the block a few times, so they say. I am seriously thinking about crossing the border considering the huge pay increase it would be, even for a beginning teacher. It’s a shame our state and country don’t appreciate the position of a teacher. The task they have given us is huge, yet the resources they provide us with are few. Not a good place to be… Feeling unappreciated.

  17. North Carolina is bent on destroying public education and promoting private schools, who do not have to accept everyone. We teach EVERYONE, and while there are some lack-luster teachers who should be shown the door, so many of us pour our hearts and souls into providing the only education and role modeling many of our students ever get. I love my state, love my community, love my school, and love my students. I teach because it’s more than a job to me- it’s my life. I don’t do it to promote an agenda or to mooch off the government. I do it because I love it. So many of us do.

  18. I am a conservative parent in the North Carolina School System, Swansboro to be exact. I have had two children go through, one graduated, one still there, entering high school this fall. It has been a great experience for us. But, I think the key is I am an INVOLVED parent. I follow up with teachers, I ensure my kids do their homework, attend parent meetings, etc. I am STUNNED, STUNNED BEYOND BELIEF, how many parents don’t at all. How can a child’s total education be placed solely on the shoulders of our teachers? How come PARENTS aren’t held more responsible? I don’t think teachers are failing our kids, PARENTS are failing their children. I have subbed in the school systerm, very shortly, hated it, wanted to kill too many parents, and it is amazing how many kids entering school don’t know how to use a fork or a spoon, don’t know any numbers,colors or their ABCs, but they know every stupid Pokemon character or Ninja turtles, WHAT?? THANK GOD FOR TEACHERS!!!

    Yes they are underpaid, but they did choose this profession, so that makes them pretty darn special and noble, in my book, to go into a profession grotesquely underpaid and still do it!!! Parents need to be more involved with their kids education, and by this it does not mean mom needs to be just like their daughter and dress and act like them (yikes please stop!!!).

    ONe final thought, just because it is a public school, should not mean teachers/staff have to take abuse from kids and parents. Mrs./Mr. So and So, suck it up and realize when the teacher/principle tells you your kid is a brat, chances are they ARE. Just because you think they are angels, probably because you spend no real time with them and don’t realize they are brats, doesn’t make them angels. Our Middle School lost several wonderful teachers over the past couple of years because of rotten, poorly behaved kids that because of stupid administrative politics, they could not get rid of them. Maybe if schools did not have to cater to the rotten ones so much (and by rotten I am also applying that to the parents) schools could get down to the business of teaching instead of crowd control.

    1. Debbie, I absolutely agree with everything you said. Been there and done that in Henderson and Youngsville NC for ONE year! Really thought I could make a difference…but too much non-teaching responsibility along with continuing education and meetings (5 in one evening, with several at the same time!!!). Not to mention that I had to go to court as I witnessed a fight (so had to find my own subs and then ended up contributing nothing to the trial, so completely wasted a day). SO NOT worth the effort. Would have been if I had felt I had enough kids who cared to tough it out for, and principal backing me without reprisals. I feel really bad for the few students who truly want to learn and do their best…but they are the select FEW. I do believe teachers all across America are underpaid, but I also saw some of the most unqualified people ‘teaching’ while I was there. And I have heard and seen too many who are not qualified and do not care about anything but keeping their jobs in the 25 years I have been involved as a parent that I have to say there is some merit in NC being a low ranked state. And this area I live in has its own reputation!

  19. Lest we forget, North Carolina has been led by a Democrat governor since 1993. In fact, there have only been three (3) Republican governors in our state since 1877, until McCrory. The stats in this graph are from 2001-2012.

    1. yes…but the major drop off started in 2008..and escalated in 2010…Phil Berger leading the way…the GOP bears the lion’s share of responsibility….in 2005..NC teachers were in the middle of the pack nationwide…in salary…you’re giving partial facts here….take responsibility for your hatred of education…

    2. Allen,

      You are correct about the history of our governor. You’ll note though that my post did not blame only one side of the politics, though it’s certainly been the focus of the comments. The post does not mention anything other than the investment in teachers in these states – red or blue. And they’re both represented on both ends of the chart.

      Also, since they are decade-long averages, this also represents which states have job a better job keeping their experienced teachers, not just flat salaries.

      However, it still needs scrutiny (and fixing) from both sides of the political isle.

      Best,

      ~Erica

  20. Looking at teacher salaries alone is a little bit misleading. Don’t get me wrong, I wish we were higher. First, if you read the document these are inflation adjusted salaries. While NC is on the bottom of the pile, it is important to note that we haven’t cut salaries. We just have not been raising them – years of not getting COLA adjustments will do that to you.

    What I’d really like to see is an overlay of these statistics that compares relative GDP growth rankings on a state by state level. Then on top of that I’d also like to see the relative budget strength of each respective state and a corresponding adjustment for cost of living. I’m sure there are other stats we could look at, but I think this would give us amore complete picture of how NC is doing.

    And while we’re at it, lets try to remove the idea that any one party is at fault or will save us from this dilemma. The democratic governors over the last 10 years haven’t done anything to help NC teachers either. McRory is just falling in line with their precedent, unfortunately.

    1. NCResident,

      Thanks for your comment. You bring up really good points. I think some here are not clear on what the chart actually represents. It is the change over a decade in the average teachers’ salary. So, +10% does not mean an individual teacher or those teachers got 10% raises over the decade. It means they – on average – are fairing better by 10%. States that have done a better job keeping their experienced teachers would have a rising average. When teachers are not supported and leave quickly, replaced by brand new teachers, the average would fall.

      You’ll also note to ORIGINAL post does not say this is all one side’s fault. (However, it is certainly the focus of the comments.) It’s just that the recent events and the national spotlight (ie: NYTimes article) is fueling this dialogue with teachers that I mention in my second paragraph. In fact, it’s what prompted me to create the infographic and write the post.

      Most of the charts I’ve seen show top-paid states to lowest paid. And while that’s important data, to me this was only part of the picture. Of course New York and California pay more than Alabama and Mississippi. They SHOULD. The cost of living is higher. I wanted this chart to show the states AS COMPARED TO THEMSELVES. This takes into account cost of living, previous spending habits, etc. How they’ve “weathered the storm”, so to speak.

      But, just like looking at our students as a single standardized test score, we should always be critical when inferring from data.

      Thanks for posting. Cheers!

      ~Erica

  21. I would suggest you all teachers that you have choice you could leave state in search for better pay and benefits. that is biggest advantage of have liberty in our land. when you all teachers leave north carolina and governor days’s are over . voters will vote him out if he let all the teachers leave north carolina and leaving empty schools no teachers too bad for the state goverment. but you have to make hard choices on wether you want to stay or leave. it is up to you

    1. I don’t want to leave North Carolina. It’s my home. I want the people living with me here to respect my profession enough to be willing to support me, so I can live where I want to live

  22. I am a 4th year teacher who graduated from ECU as an online, non-traditional student after working as a teacher assistant for 2.5 years prior to the RIF executed by former Governor Bev Perdue. Thankfully for me, the RIF came at the time I was leaving to student teach so I actually was able to hang onto my benefits for the 12 months between the RIF and my hire date. However, since being in the classroom, it has been hard to accept some of the realities that come along with teaching in my particular county as well as in NC.

    First, I teach in Eastern NC and serve a Title I population with about 50% military kids. They bring so much to the classroom, and I absolutely LOVE teaching my population. If I could actually go into the classroom on a daily basis and JUST teach the curriculum (yes, I’m one of the few who loves the new Common Core), I’d be a happy camper. But, it’s all the other junk that is thrown into the daily mix that has bogged me down and left me exhausted at the end of my day…which is sometimes going for 12+ hours at school. The never-ending paperwork of PEPs, IEPs, new lesson plan formats (going for 4th one in 4 years now, thanks very much), 3D Reading, STAR testing, quarterly progress monitoring tests created by my county, and documentation of every little thing that anyone could sue over is beyond any level that is reasonable. While I am able to plan for school and get the stuff that’s actually 100% related to teaching my planned lessons done everyday by 4:30, it’s the other paperwork that keeps me barely treading water despite the extra hours I put in on a daily basis.

    Second, the new evaluation system with the State’s mandated Standard XI will link the scores of our students on the EOG tests to OUR rating for effectiveness and merit. How is this balanced and fair when the EOG tests are NOT LINKED IN ANY WAY FOR STUDENT PROMOTION? In other words, students and parents are now able to blow off this test because they know that it holds no value in their promotion or retention. Every year at my school, we hold an EOG night on an evening assigned for PTA meetings. The conversations have changed dramatically since the penalty for student failure was removed from these EOG measures. I dislike high-stakes testing as much as most other teachers. However, to make that testing high-stakes for the teachers and no-consequence for the students is absolutely absurd. What mind would come to the logical conclusion that penalizing teachers for poor student performance is okay on a test where students have no incentive to do well? There is no business model for that EVER working or being any kind of effective measure, UNLESS the unspoken goal actually is a way for the State to avoid paying teachers any kind of increase in wages. This Standard does not effectively take into account the formation of classroom populations and lack of assistance for implementing small groups consistently within a classroom. For instance, if I have a population with 1/4 of students reading on a 5th grade level, 1/4 reading within 6 mos. +/– grade level, 1/4 reading on a pre-primer or beginning of the year kindergarten level, and 1/4 of the students classified with cognitive delays, learning disabilities, and ESL status (which is VERY realistic) my ability to serve those diverse populations in depth and to a high quality is strained at best if I have no assistance or cooperative planning and teaching time with other professionals at my grade level. There should be no discussion of my not trying my hardest, my not taking enough time to find the outside resources I should use, or my not giving enough individual attention. Yet, that discussion does happen when some of those students fail to meet the markers set for MY EVALUATION at the year’s end.

    Third, the new requirement that students in 3rd grade must read on grade level before they can be promoted takes away the ability to truly value progress made of the course of the year, at the same time it sets a standard for one grade in isolation. Now, it’s true that I take personal exception to this requirement because I teach 3rd grade and I’m faced with its implementation this academic year. Why do I have a problem with this? Logically, all students should read on grade level for every grade, right? Yes, right. However, when a student is promoted to 3rd grade and is reading on a pre-primer level (beginning kindergarten), there is no way that they can reasonably be expected to grow 4 grade levels in one year (kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd)! Why just put this requirement on 3rd grade? Why wait to put it in place that late? Why aren’t kids required to read on grade level every step of the way? When I asked, the response was, “because the State bases projected prison population on the number of kids not reading on grade level in 3rd grade.” That’s the reason I was given. By the way, as far as I can tell from the passed legislation, the only way to get over this impediment is for teachers to put together documentation of growth and work from the year in the form of something like a portfolio and submit that to the superintendent for the county. Notice, please, that the work for that all comes from the teacher gathering the materials, not the child or the parents completing any kind of appeal process.

    Fourth, we’re being asked to “do more with less” every year. Not only are funds decreasing and raises or cost-of-living increases frozen for years, but now the politicians are working to get rid of remaining assistants and do away with teacher tenure. Security in the job as a teacher is diminishing, and if teacher tenure is ended with the passage of this budget, the long-hallowed “job security” will die with it. I don’t have a problem with the argument that some teachers use this as a crutch to do less than they should. I don’t even have a problem with the argument that ending tenure will get out teachers who should have retired years ago (admittedly, there is one at my school that LEAPS to mind). What I do have issue with is how new contracts and job offers will be determined. Is it going to be based on our evaluation and that new Standard XI that I worry about since its basis for “merit” and “success” rests on student testing scores that hold no weight for the population it tests. If those test scores mean the difference between my keeping or losing my job, shouldn’t it carry SOME KIND OF WEIGHT for the students as well? Getting rid of assistants will be detrimental for student achievement here – in fact, it will be injurious to them because assistants are essential in helping to administer student small group work clusters, reading groups, and sub-par skill reinforcement. My assistant is working to earn a teaching certificate, as are several others at my school. He is knowledgeable, capable, and crucial for the kids. For many of my kids who come from single-parent families, HE IS the only male role model they have. I can say, without a doubt, that my assistant is ESSENTIAL in so many varied ways. With 3rd grade being the first testing year, we need continued assistants to help deliver as much small-group assistance as possible during the year. Without my assistant, the quality of my instruction would diminish because I would be spread even thinner. He helps the kids, he helps the school (first-responder, clerical help for upper grades, traffic help, bus driver when needed, and ALWAYS willing to do anything asked of him even when it falls outside of his paid hours), he is active in the community, and he helps not just me but also two other teachers in the grade-level as much as possible by being a shared assistant. Yes, he’s stretched thin and feels that he’s not able to do as much as he would like. But, the difference he’s making in the lives of the children with whom he works can’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

    Finally, it has been hard to accept that my desire to advance my knowledge-base by working on advanced degrees will be met with a pat, “Hey, good for you. It’s nice that you paid for that totally on your own, worked harder than others in your peer group, and wanted to provide a better and more layered approach to your instruction. But, we’re not going to reward you financially for that despite the fact that you’re more qualified now.” I’m willing to pay for my advanced degrees, and yes I am bitter over not having any support for that as I go thru school other than unsubsidized loans, but I do expect at a minimum for that degree to be recognized and financially rewarded for that achievement. In a Capitalist culture, the consumer has the chance to pick the professional, or association, they see as the best qualified in order to garner the best results or product. However, under the current budget proposal, my advanced degree would not yield me any further merit than someone who had only a bachelor’s degree. If I went further and obtained a Doctorate, why would the State of North Carolina choose to not reward me financially (again, as they also didn’t reward the Master’s degree) to keep me in the school system? In what business model is that functional? My hope is that our political leaders will see the absurdity of this supposition and rid their legislation of this ridiculous line of thinking. Because, as all educated participants know in a Capitalist culture, the reward in the marketplace has to benefit both the consumer AND THE SELLER for everyone to be happy and business to continue to thrive and grow.

    Under the current legislation, teachers are given no incentive to excel other than the impending threat of a poor evaluation based on one-time test scores that students have no motivation to pass because there exists no consequence for their failure. Teachers have long been crafty and found ways to make the most of what they have. But, under current legislation, teachers are being asked to invent ways to have needed items materialize out of seemingly thin air. When questioned about how to get what they need, teachers have been encouraged to take on additional work by writing grants thru outside organizations like donorschoose.org, or solicit parents for more supplies, more donations, and more time spent in the classroom or at school to help out. But, I don’t want to do that because it’s not a solid way of doing business. I hate the thoughts of parents avoiding phone calls and emails because they know they’ll be hit up for more, more, more. Just give me what I need to do my job to the level you’d like, and we’ll call it a day. I’m not asking for the moon. I am asking for enough paper to make it thru the year while implementing the programs you want, new textbooks that meet the Common Core curriculum requirements, assistance paid for by the school system and is dependable and qualified to work with students, common planning time with my peers that I don’t have to figure out (or labor for) so that we can have a TRUE professional learning community, and reward my desire to become a better teacher who can meet the needs of a more diverse population by taking courses towards an advanced degree – if you won’t offer to pay for some of these courses along the way, at least financially reward me for the accomplishment once I finish the hard work.

    Give me the things I need to respond to the question, “Why do you stay in education?” My current response, “It’s what I love to do, and I hope to make a difference to the future of our world” is starting to run thin…

    Unfortunately, without discussion or negotiation, if these crucial pieces of the puzzle that make up a teacher’s life aren’t regarded with weight and real consideration, I am one teacher that will walk away. Sad as it will be, I won’t stay in a climate that doesn’t show me tangible support for the hard work I’ve done. I won’t surrender my ambition to a system that offers no reward.

  23. I am curious as to what happened to the substantial raises we teachers were promised to receive about 7 years ago under Easley’s governorship? I was very excited that finally someone realized our worth and we were going to make our way up the ladder on the pay scale, but that only lasted a couple of years. This was under Democratic leadership. Cuts have to be made because our state is in a financial mess, but I hope the current administration will do their research before cutting things like pay supplements for masters degrees, or other vital programs our children need. We seemed to have enough funding to jump on the Common Core band wagon, with all of the expense that involves with training all of our fine teachers in the state. We have enough funding for all sorts of other initiatives and more training, paying substitutes while we are sent to various workshops. Maybe our leaders in Raleigh should take a long, hard look at all of these expenses before cutting programs in the schools or teachers’ pay! Is anyone studying those states on the top of the list, in the green to see what they are doing? What type of leadership do those states have?

    1. Josh,

      Thanks for sharing that. There are amazing, dedicated teachers here in NC. When I talk to teachers in other states about our Student Led Conferences in the evenings or Track Out camps – all done outside of our paid time – they are amazed. (Some, actually are horrified.) But as one commenter here said, we are there to serve the students. We don’t ask to get rich from it. We just want to make a living wage.

      This “soft” position has us in a place where we no longer are…and we’re going to have to start leaving if something doesn’t change.

      Many thanks for sharing,

      ~Erica

  24. This editorial is comnpletely misleading and overtly misrepresnts the Moral Monday protests and Gov. McCory’s statements related to his critism of A New York Times article that was critical of NC and the Republican controlled General Assembly

    When the Governor stated that he was ‘not concerned’, he was speaking on the particular issue of *attracting businesses to NC*. He was NOT discussing “teacher pay” at all. Nor was he addressing all aspects of Moral Monday Protests.

    The author of this article is hijacking the Moral Monday movement. “Teacher Pay” is not a Moral Monday issue. Moral Monday protests are (or are supposed to be) directly related to current debates or recent legislation that has passed or is being debated by the (Republican lead) General Assembly

    While there are currently proposed cuts to education, there are no proposed cuts to teacher pay in NC. (In fact McCrory has proposed a raise for teachers). Ultimately, low teacher pay in NC is a longstanding prexisting issue, – an issue that predates the Republican majority General Assembly and is independent of any current debate. This is not a Moral Monday issue.

    Therefore, any comments that McCrory made about businesses being attracted to NC in relation to recent/current legislation being directly applied to “teacher pay” are blatantly false and intentionally misleading. This isn’t a a moral Monday issue to begin with and his comments were only rleated to attracting businesses to NC in light of Moral Monday criticism.

    1. Bob,

      We clearly misunderstand each other. You find me “blatantly misleading”, and I find you completely missing my point. For example, you stated:

      “…low teacher pay in NC is a longstanding prexisting issue”

      Of course it is. I’m aware of this. The data I provided is from over a decade.

      “When the Governor stated that he was ‘not concerned’, he was speaking on the particular issue of *attracting businesses to NC*. He was NOT discussing “teacher pay” at all.”

      I’d meant the indifference shown in legislation, not a specific quote. I would have linked & directly quoted someone, had I meant that. I think you misunderstood my context. You mention, however, that his he has proposed a “raise”. The proposed 1% is after a five year salary freeze and certainly would not cover the cost of living increase for even one of those years.

      Finally, I don’t know what Moral Monday protests you’ve attended, but when I’ve been there, supporting teachers has absolutely been an issue discussed by presenters and supporters. And even if that’s weren’t the case, they are debating the passing of taxes for NC, and that’s how we’re paid. I simply don’t know how you can separate the two.

      You might read my post that discusses all the cuts being proposed to education. Though in my other posts about Moral Monday I’ve been clear that there are many issues being addressed, I focus on the Moral Monday issues related to education because this is an educator’s blog.

      ~Erica

      1. Your Blog was specifically related to TEACHER PAY. Saying McCrory is ignoring teachers pay as it pertains to Moral Monday protests is ridiculous. Independent of Moral Monday, McCrory has never dismissed teachers (esp their pay) and there are numerous public statements of support as evidence. His proposed budget proves it. Despite record unemployment rates and a projected decrease of tax revenue, he proposed a 1% raise -which was the first proposed raise in years. (Most people in the US, haven’t gotten cost of living “raises” in several years either – despite their occupation.) Regardless a 1% raise in this economy is not ignoring teachers pay and any comments on Moral Monday (which is not related to teacher pay) is a moot point
        Teacher Pay is not a Moral Monday issue since it is a longstanding issue and not a partisan issue or McCrory ignoring it. “Supporting teachers” in general is a different issue and not the issue you addressed in your blog. The blog was specific to teacher pay.

        1. Bob,

          Well, I can tell you did not go back and read my other post about the education budget. I also don’t know if you have personally attended Moral Monday, but I have and I stand by my post.

          I think I made the connections very clear in the second paragraph when explaining my personal experience with how the NYTimes editorial and McCrory’s response have created this dialogue among educators. In fact, it’s what prompted me to do the research, create this infographic, and write this post.

          I’m sorry you don’t see the connections. But really, if you don’t know how our salary is related to “supporting teachers”, I don’t know how to continue this conversation.

          Best,

          ~Erica

        2. “…Teacher Pay is not a Moral Monday issue…”

          The Moral Monday “finale” disagrees:

          Thousands of Educators Protest in Raleigh on Monday

          “Crowd estimates range from 5,000 to 10,000 participants in the last Raleigh-hosted Moral Monday held on July 29. The rally was at least 50% represented by public school educators protesting budget cuts to the classroom while funding unaccountable voucher schemes. Moral Monday rallies will continue in North Carolina communities beginning in Asheville in August. DPB provides links to media outlets covering Moral Monday yesterday.”

  25. Former Republican, future teacher. I’m a college student who will soon be graduating, and I am having to seriously consider if it is in my best interest to teach in my home state upon graduation. I voted some of these idiots into office, because I heard promises of job, not the devaluation of my future profession. I’m a registered independent and will most definitely be voting libertarian or possibly even democrat in the last election. Not only am I embarrassed by the reprehensible actions that are putting a negative spotlight on NC, but I feel like I was blatantly lied to (I was very active with the wake GOP during last election season).

  26. This is ridiculous. North Carolina is going to lose amazing educators because of this and their schools will continue to struggle. It is so sad. I feel horrible for the teachers there.

    1. As an educator, I have to agree with you. It is becoming more and more difficult to stay focused on doing what is best for our kids when NC sends such negative messages to educators.

  27. Teachers don’t make a lot. That’s no surprise. I believe that teachers should make more than they are currently being paid. It is a noble, worthwhile, and necessary profession. Here is a comment directed straight to teachers, “Quit whining about low wages and then reply that you don’t teach because of the money.” If you sincerely don’t do it for the money, then the money shouldn’t matter that much. It’s not like teachers were overpaid when you decided to become one. Higher pay doesn’t attract better teachers, it only attracts people looking for money. Some people will do anything for money or to keep a job. These people should not be our teachers.

    1. Greg,

      No teacher is in it for the money. We are not asking to be millionaires. We chose a profession that provides a service to children, who have very little ability to represent themselves in our government. We are asking our state government to make an investment in our children. This comes (in part) from offering a salary that will encourage people who are highly qualified to choose NC over other states where they can do the same job, but with more support and pay. My pay has been frozen for 5 years, and I have actually made less in the past 2 because of taxes and healthcare. That being said, I have plenty of other issues with education in this state (class size, assistants, limiting substitute hours in my county, lack of student spending). The idea that teachers are whining is ridiculous. In NC we are not allowed to have a union and expressing the fact that we need cost of living raises, as well as more pay for higher qualifications is our only hope. Thank goodness for NCAE.

    2. Sir, I am not looking to make a fortune. I am just looking to make enough so that I do not lose my rather modest home and so that my children have a home to grow up in. I do not live in a mansion. I do not drive a fancy car. I do not wear designer clothing. My children do not go to fancy private school. And neither do any of the low income children whom I chose to teach.

      Your argument that higher wages attract people who are simply looking to make money is a flawed. My brother is a master electrician. He makes a good living. In fact, in general, electricians make a very good wage. I’m just curious, how many do you know? How many people do you know who are clamoring to become electricians simply because they will make a good living?

      And yes, when I decided to become a teacher, I knew I would not be making millions. My mother was a classroom teacher, as well as a school-based and county-based administrator. She also was a single mother. We struggled. When I told her I had decided to follow in her footsteps and become an elementary school teacher, she said to me, “Are you sure? You are so smart! You could do anything you want!” To which I replied, “So, what you are saying is that only stupid people should be teachers?”

      I got in to and then turned down law school. I could be making easily three times what I currently earn.

      I teach because I can. And because I am damn good at it.

      Not for the money.

    3. Greg, you don’t get it. Would you want to make $33,000 a year if you had a Master’s Degree? Well, NC teachers who have Master’s degrees start at that rate of pay with no experience. Starting salaries are obviously even less for those with only a Bachelor’s degree. If you are single, you cannot afford rent and utilities, food, and transportation costs. And those of us who have families….well, I hope you can find time after working 60 hours a week for a second job to support them, too.

      Do teachers work for the money? No! But, we do want to make enough money to live in a clean, sturdy home and eat something besides Ramen noodles for dinner every night.

  28. Anyone know how to send this to the illustrious Gov. McCrory, the state Senate and state Legislature of North Carolina? This is a bleak but factual view of the value state government places on education. One can always see clearly an individual or group’s values by how and where they spend their money. As a fifteen year Special Education teacher trying to survive financially is very difficult. I just completed my Master’s Degree in Special Education with student loans to repay and now the legislature of NC wants to end Master’s Degree pay?
    Tara

  29. Hey, Greg. What do you do for a living? Do you have a college education? Have you worked the last FIVE YEARS without an appreciable pay raise while being asked to do more and more and more and being criticized in the media daily? Just wondering.

  30. A more pertinent critique challenges the myths of compulsory schooling, and questions the need for this very expensive and increasingly ineffectual drain on the lives of our children, designed to retard their maturation and mold them into incomplete persons, suitable for “easy management” and faithful consumers. This critique is offered by a 30 year veteran of the teaching profession who has inspired parents to retract their delegation of dozens of hours a week of their children’s time to this toxic learning-retarding treatment. In addition to his free online book “Underground History of American Education”, he has published and addressed audiences of home educators under the heading of “Weapons of Mass Instruction”. A one hour sample may be audited at:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbhQ7aepvkg A brief essay, entitled “The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher” summarizes his account of the effect of institutional schools: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=11375 – The site with freely accessible text of “UGHOAS” has this brief biography: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/aboutus/john.htm -

  31. Arguments over the adequacy of the pay assumes some significant intrinsic value for the work being compensated. As a student subjected to institutional schooling from 1953 through 1975, I can see some value to the experience, but only if I ignore the huge opportunity cost of consuming more than 22 years of my life in that setting is the value anywhere near the cost incurred.

    A more pertinent critique challenges the myths of compulsory schooling, and questions the need for this very expensive and increasingly ineffectual drain on the lives of our children, designed to retard their maturation and mold them into incomplete persons, suitable for “easy management” and faithful consumers. This critique is offered by a 30 year veteran of the teaching profession who has inspired parents to retract their delegation of dozens of hours a week of their children’s time to this toxic learning-retarding treatment. In addition to his free online book “Underground History of American Education”, he has published and addressed audiences of home educators under the heading of “Weapons of Mass Instruction”. A one hour sample may be audited at:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbhQ7aepvkg A brief essay, entitled “The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher” summarizes his account of the effect of institutional schools: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=11375 – The site with freely accessible text of “UGHOAS” has this brief biography: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/aboutus/john.htm -

  32. Very well said Erica. Im forwarding this to a Citadel buddy that was recently elected to the NC Senate. He’s GOP but he is a good guy. Maybe he will read it and remember it.

  33. It would be interesting to see this data in comparison to the amount of graduates from high school for each year and also the GPa levels and so forth. Do appreciated teachers drive results vice versa. It’s befuddling that there has been such a decrease when nc added the nc state education lottery and made Billions of dollars within the first seven months yet they are still cutting costs! Where does all that money go? Corrupt?

  34. Our Representatives do not serve us. They are a self serving, egocentric lot. I truly feel they have failed us and our state. We have no voice. Thank you teachers for all you do. I would suggest we write our congress, but having done so twice, I only have gotten a computer generated reply. I give up on our politicians. Good luck.

  35. The teaching profession should be handled like a business. If you do your job, you will move forward and get paid for it. Teachers should not be paid based on how many years they have worked, only on how WELL they do their job. The government and unions should stay out of it.

    1. Ted,

      The problem with is, it’s NOT a business. I can’t fire students who don’t produce. I’m not making easily-measurable widgets. How do you propose to measure how “well a teacher has done his/her job?” Standardized testing? Did you feel your SAT’s were the ultimate measure of your worth?

      “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” ~Einstein

      Best,

      ~Erica

      1. And of course, we are comparing apples and oranges. If you base my merit as a teacher by comparing my last year’s class to my this year’s class, that isn’t fair as it is two different groups of children. And if you compare my this year’s class’s scores LAST YEAR to their scores THIS YEAR – that also does not work, as we are dealing with two different sets of standards. Pre-test at the beginning of the year, compared to growth at the end of the year? I am gifted certified. I frequently don’t look as if my class has had a large percentage of growth because some of my students already started high. When you score 90% on a 4th grade pretest – and then a 100% on the post…not as impressive of a jump as a child who went from 20 – 65%. So, apparently I did not do my job as well?

  36. There’s no way to know how much teachers should make because their salaries are based on policy rather than markets. it’s the same problem communist and socialist countries have when it comes to the distribution of limited resources. Without the mechanism of the market (Supply/Demand) there is no way to really know what the right distribution should be and the government creates shortfalls and reductions in quality.

    1. Ryan,

      If we were to pay teachers based on markets, wealthier parents would have a higher demand for highly-qualified teachers, pay to have smaller class sizes, and so on. I believe a child is still entitled to a quality education, even if his/her parent(s) are not wealthy. They are already not entitled to a bigger house. A nicer car. More luxuries. But we will continue to have systemic poverty – a drain on the system financially, I might add – if we do not make sure we have education available to all.

      We should “supply” education, not only to those who are lucky enough to afford to live in an area that “demands” it.

      ~Erica

      1. Erica, your sentiment is right, but your reasoning needs further explanation in my opinion. Specifically, the “American Dream” is generally considered to be the idea that, if you work hard, then you have the chance to succeed and get ahead (look up American Dream on wikipedia if you wish). The concept here is equality of opportunity (which is separate from equality itself).

        More and more, as society has evolved, an advanced education is key to any equality of opportunity. In the past (aka, the days of the founding fathers of this country), you could squat on a acre of land, plant some crops, cut down a tree and build a home, and live off of your own labor. There was even a concept called “squatters rights” to allow you to own the property even if someone else claimed it if you lived there long enough. This allowed you to entirely duck out of society and live on your own wits if you wanted too, totally escaping the need for any education other than what to plant and what to hunt from your parents. That isn’t the case these days.

        Since an education is a requirement to be able to get ahead in society, to enable equality of opportunity means you *must* have equal access to education. A pay for access education system means that those that have money stay in power, while those that don’t perpetually stay without it.

        The founding fathers of this country fought against the cast system in England, denying the concept of royalty, which amounts to privilege by right of birth. As it turns out, making education pay for access in today’s world enacts the exact same thing, those privileged by birth into wealth stay in power by virtue of their birth right, and not by virtue of their own works. And that corrupts the “American Dream”.

        So you will never see me support the sort of “gut public education and let the people buy private education” sentiments I have seen some people display as it is fundamentally un-American in nature and creates a financial cast system in our society that was never part of the original founding father’s goals. Part and parcel to that is the idea that teachers need to be paid a reasonable salary relative to the rest of society. Which goes back to the original poster’s comment. We can’t rely on pure market economics for teaching as teaching isn’t optional in today’s society. It’s something we must provide, so we need to make sure we also pay a reasonable price.

    2. Also: Finland, for example, is a country that is very socialist, and does very well for themselves educationally. Some say they have the best education in the world. I’m not saying we do everything exactly like them. We have differences (more poverty, for one) in America than they do. It’s just worth noting.

  37. I teach, nurse, cook, clean, shop and a thousand other things EVERY day and get paid nothing. Where’s the moms union?!?! I’m underpaid and underappreciated, too, but I’m not blaming it on others. If you’re only doing it for the money, then go find the money. If you’re doing it because you like your job and you want to help kids, what are belly-aching for? They haven’t fired you, have they? In America, the right to pursue happiness is more likely to be interpreted the right to HAVE happiness all the time with everything.

    1. I am both a teacher and mother, and equating them to me is simply silly. However, you have provided an excellent example of the misinformed and misguided opinion out there that teachers are facing: Teachers love the kids, therefore they have no right to expect a living wage.

      Myself and others here have repeatedly said, we are not wanting to get rich from what we do. We are wanting a living wage. It is increasingly impossible to be a teacher and afford a basic life. Some can’t afford basic care for their kids. We are college graduates – this should not be a poverty-stricken job.

      Since you are a mother, I am sure you want what is best for your children. If they are of school age, they spend more waking hours with their teachers than they do with you. How should the professionals educating the loves of your life be financially compensated? Should they work for free? Who do you imagine will teach your children for that?

      Teachers who make less than $50,000 a year (most all of us in NC) make less than $10 an hour per child. How much do you pay a babysitter when you go out?

      ~Erica

      1. Why is it when ever a teacher simply says they should not have to risk losing their home in order to continue work in their chosen profession (not to mention the profession for which we have studied and trained), people who are not teachers tell us to stop whining about low pay. I am a college graduate, with a master’s degree, and 15 years experience – and I make $50,000. This income is what I use to provide my three children (the oldest of which is autistic), with the basic necessities of life. We do not take vacations. We do not go to the movies with regularity. We use coupons. And I could still lose my home. Oh, and that $50K? That is the “on paper” salary. Take out 6 furlough days and it came to $48,000. Oh – and the state raised our insurance premiums again. And our co-pays.
        And as for we haven’t been fired – please tell that to the 200 teachers in my Georgia school district who were let go last year. Budget cuts. Increased class sizes to 33 so that we didn’t need as many teachers.

    2. Mommy,
      Do you invite 20 of your own children’s friends over and teach them, nurse them, cook for them, clean up after them, and shop for them too? If so, I agree you need a union. Providing parenting to your own children is not the same as providing an education for someone else’s children. All teachers are asking for is to be able to do the work they love, while making enough to provide for their own families.

  38. This makes me want to cry. I’m going into my 6th year and I’m finding it harder and harder to feel dedicated to a position I love dearly. Do I abandon ship to provide the best for my own family or tighten the reins and live off a hope that it will improve? I truly love my job, but it’s hard to see the worth in what I’m doing when my state doesn’t seem to see any worth in what I’m doing.

  39. I work in NC education, this is my 9th year. I have a Bachelor’s degree, 2 Master’s Degrees and my National Boards. I live comfortably and am very fortunate to be able to pay my bills. Then…I had a baby and whew here came daycare, diapers, etc! I have recently invested in a direct selling company that I can do in my part-time. It’s a way I can make sure we have that little extra. I’m wondering how many other teachers, educators, bus drivers, and the few teachers assistants we have left have taken on part-time and extra jobs to make sure all of the ends meet.

  40. I came to NC 10 yrs ago as a lateral entry foreign language teacher. Having previously worked in the private sector, I can say from experience that teaching is more challenging, time consuming and stressful than most any professional job out there. Currently, I have 7 subjects I have to prep for; 300+ students; 12 classrooms over 3 grade levels. They are academic courses meaning I issue, collect and grade assignments. The final levels are high school credit courses. In addition to my courses, I chair and sit on school and community committees, coach, sponsor clubs, drive the activity bus, work on technology, have morning and afternoon duties, etc. Like other teachers who have posted here, I will tell you that my evenings, weekends, teacher workdays, holidays, summers, etc., are spent doing professional development and trying to get ahead of the game.

    Are there teachers who are not dedicated? Sure, but don’t bash the rest of us. Are Democrats as guilty of short-changing education? Probably, but right now, we are asking Gov. McCrory and our state legislature to lead by example, show that teachers are well deserving of respect and good pay.

  41. As an educator living and working in NC, I agree that teachers (not only in NC, but everywhere) should be better compensated…period.

    However, I feel your point could potentially have been better supported had you focused on either (1) the % change in the beginning salary from state to state over that 10-year span (20.5% INCREASE in NC), or (2) the change in a teacher’s salary who began in 2001-2002 and has worked 10 years ($12,460 INCREASE in NC). Now I do not know how this compares to other states, or the change from state to state in cost of living…I’ll leave that for someone with more time on their hands.

    Average salaries can be impacted by far too many factors (ex: retirement, staffing reductions, creation/elimination of positions, moves to administration or other careers, etc).

    1. Tom,

      You make an excellent point and I’d love to see that data, too. As I’ve commented to several here, this data is not reflective of “raises” but the change in averages. So, as you say, states keeping more experienced teachers would move the bar positively. Losing educators to other professions (and by having them leave, they often are replaces with novice teachers) would move their averages into the negative.

      However, I’d argue this still represents how well a state is doing in teacher retention and reflects the support educators get there. It’s still worth a critical look, don’t you agree?

      ~Erica

  42. Gov Mcrory has only been in office 6 1/2 months. The salary issue has been at the hands if democrats that misused money of years. North Carolina us just fine thank you!!!!

    1. Karen,

      You seem more concerned about blame. I’m more concerned about change. If he’s in power, to whom should we address our concerns?

      If you can honestly look at that chart and say NC is fine, you are not a teacher, nor a mother, nor a citizen with any concern for our future.

      ~Erica

  43. I moved to NC 15 years ago from NJ. I taught in NJ for 12 years with a bachelors degree in special ed and a masters in reading. I was paid a professional salary. I was treated like a professional and was expected to act and dress like a professional. I felt respected by my community. Every year I consider going back into teaching, go back into the classroom and do what I love. What keeps me from going
    back? The number one reason is with 12 years of experience and a masters degree, even after 15 years, I would not come close to what I was making when I left NJ. It is an insult. I am a professional . I deserve to be paid like one. The children of
    NC deserve the best. Thank God my husband does make a professional salary in his line of work.

  44. Gov McCrory has been in office for less than 7 months. How can anyone attribute the pay of teachers to him. Our state has had nothing but Democrats in the Governor’s office since the late 1980″s . So read your history first. Your argument is unfounded. North Carolina is doing just fine. Finally a budget passed. Progress in undoing the mismanagement of the previous officials takes time.

    1. kpbonolla,

      Like I’ve said to the other commenters here who’ve said this same thing, you seem more concerned about blame. I’m more concerned about enacting change. If he’s in power now, to whom else should we address our concerns?

      The post and infographic are very clear that this was done over a decade. If you can honestly look at that chart and say NC is “doing just fine”, you are not a teacher, nor a mother, nor a citizen with any concern for our future.

      ~Erica

  45. The real problem is this and I don’t know if anyone else has touched upon this. The republicans of NC are controlled by people who don’t even live in this state. They are controlled by people from Kansas. Who are these people you ask? Koch Brothers!

  46. Stop comparing the U.S to other counties in terms of Education. Hands down the US is the best education system in the world!! Simply the Best!!! Does China educate all of their children? NO!

    1. Jimsy,

      I’m sorry…when you said “counties”, did you mean “countries”? The context suggests you do, so I’m a little confused. Also, you’ve capitalized Education once and not the other time and you capitalized “Best”. I’m a seventh grade language arts teacher, and these errors in grammar don’t really help your argument in the great job we do, though I appreciate the sentiment.

      Also, the data does not support your claim:

      http://www.valueaccess.net/sites/default/files/ranking-educacion1.jpg

      ~Erica

  47. I’ve no opinion strong enough or educated enough to respond as I live in Tennessee and not North Carolina, but I can say that at least Erica is addressing it in discussion and she may ignite some change or participation in some action that will ignite change and that is worthy of support.

  48. Let’s face it, all good teachers throughout the country are underpaid. Here’s a different perspective that would behoove us to keep in mind. The stats are from four years ago but it shows that when adjusted for pension contributions, teacher experience, and cost of living, North
    Carolina’s adjusted average teacher compensation is $59,252, which is $4,086 higher than the U.S. adjusted average compensation and ranks 14th highest in the nation.
    http://www.johnlocke.org/acrobat/spotlights/spotlight-367_teacherpay2009.pdf

    1. Cassandra,

      NC pay has been frozen for more than five years, so I would argue four years ago is an eternity ago in this context. In 2009 I was a nine-year veteran. Today, I am a fourteen-year veteran with a slightly lower salary and more taken out for benefits and retirement. My take-home pay is significantly less. I certainly agree with you that NC does not have the market cornered in being underpaid.

      ~Erica

      1. I would like to see more recent stats too but I would argue that lots of people I know in lots of professions have had stagnant or slight increases the last few years. That’s a result of the economy. A lot of the recent attacks have been aimed at Republicans but they weren’t in power from 2009 to 2012 during the years since the last study that showed NC as 14th in adjusted compensation. So, if it’s gotten worse than that, it got worse on Democrats’ watch. By the way, I’m an Independent.

        1. This chart compares states to themselves to what they were already paying on average. The states on the higher end may not be the highest paid (Wyoming) but they are doing better overall to improve conditions for their teachers. I’m not an economist, but I want to know why it is that NC is struggling more than every other state, and by so much. The economy is tough all over the nation. Detroit has certainly been struggling over this past decade, but we’re even statistically significantly behind Michigan.

          “A lot of the recent attacks have been aimed at Republicans but they weren’t in power from 2009 to 2012…”

          In North Carolina. On the national stage, it’s the exact reverse. The same people who are claiming that” McCrory has been only in office for seven months” are the same who squeal “no fair” when Obama’s team points out the mess he inherited.

          So as for whose “watch it was”, as I said in the post, I don’t care to argue who created what portion of what mess. I care about cleaning it up. Politics right now is so into being on sides with “winners” that it is our society’s future and the children who are the “losers”.

          ~Erica

        2. Adjusted salaries are a fairer way to look at it and Wyoming was 35th in the country, $3,000 below the adjusted median income while NC was 14th, $4,000 above the adjusted median income. This chart you refer to above is more about how poorly states were doing in 2001 than how well they are doing now. For example, I once got a 12 percent raise and I still wasn’t making much because they started me so low. So, I was still making less than those in comparable positions in other states, even though they got smaller raises. Detroit certainly brings Michigan down but it’s not the whole state plus the cost of living in Michigan is twice what the cost of living is in NC according to cityrating.com.
          Education Week’s annual state report card this year lists North Carolina as having the 21st best schools in the country. Yet teachers in NC are paid the 14th best, when adjusted for pension contributions, teacher experience, and cost of living.
          I guess we can get into national politics if you want. But the Republicans were not in control of the US Senate from 2009-2012 and the Democrats aren’t in control of the US House now. As for the presidency blame vs. the governor blame. McCrory is just starting out yet there has been no honeymoon period. There was a honeymoon period for Obama but he has been in office five years now. So, you can’t keep blaming things on past administrations. I’m not happy with either party but I haven’t really heard McCrory bad mouthing his predecessor and I highly doubt he will be at the end of his term.
          Finally, you certainly don’t go into teaching to get rich. But if NC is above the national median adjusted income, I don’t really see that it’s as much of a mess as has been claimed. I’m more concerned about the lack of support and authority teachers are given when dealing with problem children, as well as teacher safety.
          Yes, good teachers deserve more, everywhere. Bad teachers and those who indoctrinate children into one controversial opinion or another deserve less, and shouldn’t be allowed to soil the good name of the profession.

        3. Where are you getting your data? Wyoming ranks 5th in the nation in teachers’ “Salary Comfort Index” (average salaries – both starting and overall- compared to the cost of living). Here, I have a source to back up my claims:

          http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state/

          Could you please do the same? You are spouting tons of statistics with no sources. My students aren’t allowed to do that on their middle school papers. Please cite your sources.

          The same source above shows your claim “Yet teachers in NC are paid the 14th best…” is false: We’re 35th in the Comfort Index. Those of us who live in the triangle have a much higher cost of living than the state’s average, and I would venture to say we’d be close to the bottom, maybe even only outpaced by Hawaii.

          Your mention of cost of living in Michigan being higher than NC is completely moot to my post’s data. As I’ve repeatedly said, this was each state’s changes as compared to themselves. Their own changes over time already reflect their own cost of living.

          You said “So, you can’t keep blaming things on past administrations.I wasn’t. My only point was both sides can make the claims about how the other side did such-and-so “before they got here”. But then, you only said that regarding Obama. With McCrory, it’s exactly what you actually did. You started with how long he’s been in office and blamed Dems. Can you honestly not see the insane hypocracy? You are spending energy arguing why the side you like is not to blame, no matter what, with opposite outcomes at the state & federal level. I’m telling you that is systemically what is wrong with politics. Citizens are paying the price and the madness must stop. The blame game is not helpful. We are where we are. And where we are sucks. Let’s just fix it.

          As for your your straw man argument, “You certainly don’t go into teaching to get rich” it’s not been anyone’s claim here and it’s been addressed over and over by myself and other teachers to other commenters who don’t understand and made the same straw man argument.

          Finally, I don’t know how you can look at that data and “don’t really see that it’s as much of a mess as has been claimed“. If the issue is you doubt the data, please see my source, both at the bottom of the infographic and linked to my post, page 38 table C-14.

      2. I don’t mean to be as ugly to you as you are to me but I already did tell where I got the information. I linked to this report: http://www.johnlocke.org/acrobat/spotlights/spotlight-367_teacherpay2009.pdf and I told you that the fact that Michigan’s cost of living is twice the cost of living in North Carolina could be found at cityrating.com and I told you that Education Week’s annual state report card this year lists North Carolina as having the 21st best schools in the country. Do a Google search for “Education Week annual state report card 2013″ and you’ll see it.
        As for the Michigan thing, it is very germane what the cost of living is. You brought it up by saying that we are “statistically significantly behind Michigan.” I explained to you that Michigan has a much higher cost of living so therefore we aren’t significantly behind Michigan. Each state’s salary changes “in relation to themselves” is moot because someone living in Wyoming could have been making $20,000 10 years ago and are now making 18 percent more than they were 10 years ago but still are making less than a NC teacher who started at a higher salary. You also have to take into account teacher experience and pension contributions. Your statistics don’t do that.
        You wrote, “In North Carolina. On the national stage, it’s the exact reverse. The same people who are claiming that ‘McCrory has been only in office for seven months’ are the same who squeal ‘no fair’ when Obama’s team points out the mess he inherited.”
        I’m telling you that the situation isn’t the same because Obama has been in office for five years and should not still be talking about the mess he inherited from Bush whereas in the seven months McCrory has been in office, I haven’t heard McCrory talk about the mess he inherited from Perdue. Plus, Obama got a honeymoon period from the public and the media and McCrory hasn’t – those are the reasons it’s not the same. By the way, I wasn’t saying that you personally were saying things about past administrations. I was saying that the Obama team was. Look, I don’t like the Democrats or the Republicans – I’m just trying to tell it like it is.
        My bottom line point is that I can bring out statistics that show a different conclusion than you found. If North Carolina is so bad, I recommend that you go teach somewhere else where you’ll be happier. Somebody else might like to live in North Carolina, as imperfect as we are, and are willing to make the salary they are offered. And if North Carolina is so bad, it was bad before the Moral Mondays started attacking certain people who haven’t been in office long enough to have affected the statistics you and I share.
        Finally, what exactly is broken that needs to be fixed? If you got the highest salary in the country, would you be happy – would things be fixed? If NC teachers got all the money thrown at them that they ask for, would things be fixed? To me, the biggest problems are administrative and parental support for teachers, discipline in the classroom, providing a good learning environment, the cost of educating non-citizens (which would be better spend on salaries and computers), indoctrination of students by certain teachers’ agendas or political correctness rather than a focus on reading, writing and arithmetic, and, finally but perhaps most importantly, the safety of teachers and students.
        Good teachers aren’t getting paid what they are worth anywhere in the country. Blasting North Carolina through Moral Mondays doesn’t help the situation – it alienates a great portion of the population, stiffens their resolve and divides us unnecessarily.
        I’m trying to agree with you that teachers should make more but I’m also trying to balance out the discussion to show that the situation isn’t so black and white. We should take a lot of things into consideration and we should be careful how we advocate for our point of view.

        1. Cassandra,

          I apologize. I took “Bad teachers and those who indoctrinate children into one controversial opinion or another deserve less, and shouldn’t be allowed to soil the good name of the profession.” very much as a personal attack, so if you felt my response was heated, that would be why.

          You are right. Michigan has a higher cost of living average. I didn’t need a source for that. You don’t seem to understand why it’s not important in this data’s case. It shows Michigan’s teacher salary is – on average – 8.1% lower than it was a decade ago…in Michigan. North Carolina’s teacher salary is – on average – almost 16% lower than it was a decade ago in North Carolina. Compared to ourselves and our own salaries with our own cost of living. We don’t have a city experiencing anything like the economy crash in Detroit. (look at examples on zillow.com) Yet they managed to let their salaries’ average slide about half as much as us. That is what I’m trying to help you understand.

          You are right. You did cite the John Locke source. They are a political think tank with a right-wing agenda and even their data you’ve cited is from before the six-year teacher salary freeze in North Carolina. But you did cite it.

          So you may dismiss my post as simply a lone teacher who is unhappy and money-hungry. It’s not relevant. You can find your isolated and dated data to prove the point you’ve apparently already decided is true. There’s no anomaly or problem here in North Carolina.

          Make sure you also dismiss this current article by our state paper:
          Low pay may bring NC teacher shortage

          And this current article:
          NC Ranks Near the Bottom in Teacher Salaries

          Dismiss these teachers too:
          http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/18/2970984/johnston-county-teachers-speak.html

          And this video of the teacher being interviewed just this week:
          More data shows NC lags behind in teacher pay

          And all the ones commenting so passionately here on this very post.

          The fact that most of my posts maybe get a handful of comments and this one has this many isn’t because this resonates with teachers in North Carolina at all.

          You’re right. There’s nothing to see here. Move on.

          North Carolina’s doing great.

          ~Erica

  49. Following Bob’s flawed logic…if one or more people in a profession act in a way that demeans their profession then all should be demeaned…ummm…..lets take a look at politicians, shall we???

  50. Thanks Erica for providing this lively discussion forum about a topic that is extremely tied to the future of our state and country. We have been patiently waiting for the cycle to turn and at least give North Carolina’s teachers some reprieve from the depreciation in compensation that we have had over the past decade. We think that with each school year things may get better but political gridlock and a disdain for legislative compromise has high-jacked doing what is just and right for the many. Unfortunately in the current leadership environment, politicizing any issue, be it education, healthcare, economic development; derives answers that only invest toward the next election cycle.

    Given this, I would like to commend all the extremely talented, dedicated, and loyal educators for what they have given this state despite the tough times and lean resources of recent. I am a 8-year lateral entry middle school science teacher that if it were not for great mentors, peers, and co-workers, would not have continued in the profession. I love what I do. It is the only job that I have had where I have not needed an alarm clock to wake me up for and each night I smile at what some young learner has discovered during my class.

    To all educators (I believe we all are), thanks for doing so well what we all are dedicated in doing – taking care of and educating our children; despite the budget, rhetoric, and sometimes perceived insanity.

  51. Unfortunately for teachers it is a serious case of supply and demand. Pay scales, very rarely, have anything to do with what you’re “worth”. As long as people will teach for minimum wage, you’ll get minimum wage. You’ll come on this site and complain, but tomorrow you will go right back in your classroom for the exact same salary. People love to complain about politicians and their individual situations, but then tomorrow they will do absolutely nothing to change it. Standing downtown with a sign is as pointless as complaining on the internet, and the politicians know this so they don’t care. I get paid a very high salary because I do something that no one else wants to do (or can do). I am one of a very few who do what I do, and my pay reflects this. Teachers are a dime a dozen because they’re willing to be such. If teachers all decided to quit next summer, and cited pay as their reason, you’d see their salary double overnight. They’re not willing to do it, so their pay isn’t changing. Little kids say “I want to be a teacher when I grow up!”… the supply is there, and the demand is relatively static. No little kid says “I want to go to school full time until I’m 39 years old!” Regardless of the relatively limited demand for a surgeon, there is a very limited supply of them… pay is through the roof. Look at careers that are being paid well and ask yourself what they have that you don’t. It has nothing to do with worthy and noble causes. The people doing the most important jobs in society are often paid the least. Look at your firemen, police, trash collectors, mailmen, soldiers, etc. If you know more than 5 or 10 people who can do your job, your salary will always be low. Why do college professors get paid more than elementary school teachers? The supply is low for PhD prepared educators. BS prepared educators are everywhere.

    1. First of all, I must admit to fantasizing about all of the teachers here in NC walking out to make a point to our politicians. Of course, this will never happen because we have families to support and bills to pay. We will not all quit at once. Instead we will slowly trickle out of education. Many teachers continue to teach while going back to school to pursue other careers. Many teachers are qualified for jobs where they can make more money.
      Even if the majority of teachers were to suddenly quit I don’t think we would see a major increase in salary. Instead I find it much more likely that policy makers would lift all caps on class size and have auditoriums, cafeterias, and media centers full of hundreds of children being taught by whoever was willing to stay. This is perhaps an exaggeration, but it is really why you can claim the demand for teachers is static. If you just keep cramming more students in each classroom you don’t need more teachers.
      As far as the supply of little children saying, “I want to be a teacher,” that too is declining. As a fourth grader told me this past school year, “I used to want to be a teacher but now I don’t. You don’t get paid enough.” I wonder how many high school students still want to be teachers. I wonder how many college students in the past 5 years have begun college thinking they would become teachers and then changed their majors.
      I guess my point is that the supply of quality teachers is decreasing, while the rising demand is masked by larger class size. The point of rallying at events like Moral Monday and having discussions on blogs like this is to raise awareness before more damage is done to our students and the future of our state.

  52. Funny, when times were good, I heard Teacher after Teacher absolutely GUSHING about how they don’t do their job for the pay. It is the love of education and the children that are their real pay. Ahem…… Anyway, since we are on the real planet Earth and not blowing smoke up people’s rear ends. We can now discuss reality. We have a deficit and we owe the Federal Government money. We were spent into debt by the previous tenant of the Governor’s Mansion. We owe over 2 billion dollars and everyone has to pay. Funding has been cut to every sector of NC’s Government. Teachers are not the only one’s biting the bullet. I am not a stupid person, but at times, I admit I do not know everything. So, inform me, the median income for a teacher in NC is $52,000?? And teachers work how many weeks a year? I know lots of people that make less than that and only get 1-4 weeks vacation a year and they get by. So, how is this job so bad when your paid much higher than the average wage in NC, which is $45,700. The National median income is $50,502. We have been in a recession and our Economy stinks, our state is in massive debt and the current Governor has come up with a budget that will pay down our debt so we can raise salaries back to the levels they should be, in time. It sounds like personal greed has taken over the Education system, but then, maybe I am wrong. From what I read for the last hour or so, I bet I will hear plenty about how I am quite wrong.

  53. I do think teachers should get paid a nice income and while I don’t blame the teachers,I do however blame the system here. Why are you making my kindergartener eat the lunches.she has a lunch.It is up ME( my child) what the heck I want her to eat and why are you putting my child in a class of stuff she already knows. What are you doing dumbing her up? I will not let that happen.even if I have to homeschool. According to your core standard program she should be in first grade. However up north,she is doing kindergarten work.down here you guys are behind.

    1. Ms. Sims,

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Someone makes her eat school lunch? Have you addressed this with that adult? To whom are you speaking when you say, “You are dumbing her up?” The common core won’t dictate a grade, but except for the four states not doing it, it should be the same (common) to all the states. It sounds like this is specific to the teacher of your child and not about the state as a whole.

      ~Erica

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s