May 19, 2016

The infallible, objective and never misleading (sarcasm intended) Doug Clark says new figures from the NEA teacher union conflict with Senator Berger’s statement that North Carolina’s public school teachers received a 7% average raise last school year.

But on page 10 of the NEA report, it says North Carolina teachers enjoyed a 6.3% salary increase last school year against a U. S. average raise of 1.4% – meaning our teachers got the biggest pay raise in the country, even by the union’s math. And so it looks like the conflict between Berger and the NEA is basically in Doug Clark’s mind.

Good old Doug also neglects to mention that teacher compensation increases in North Carolina have risen over twice as fast as compensation for employees in the rest of the economy.

Adjusted for the cost of living, we rank 33rd in America for teacher pay.

Doug Clark laments our ranking relative to neighboring states. However, we did some back of the envelope calculations comparing teacher pay adjusted for cost of living in representative cities. It showed our state beating 3 of 4 neighboring states in the cities selected. Statewide figures may differ.

Teacher pay adjusted for cost of living

NC   $47,985

SC   $44,804

GA   $51,480

TN   $46,272

VA   $43,208

Representative cities – Raleigh, Charleston, Atlanta, Knoxville, Fairfax

And if North Carolina teachers are so brutally underpaid, then why are teachers voting with their feet to move to North Carolina (8,500 moving here, 2,200 leaving) since 2010?

Teachers deserve raises. But those raises should be based on teacher performance, not across the board. Incidentally, North Carolina voters agree with performance raises instead of across-the-board raises 52%-18%.