May 25, 2016

With North Carolina enjoying the nation’s fastest economic growth thanks to prudent spending restraint and job producing tax reform, Senate reformers are proposing a dramatic teacher pay increase to over $54,000 a year, highest in the Southeast.

Under the outdated salary plan the state adopted ages ago, it takes 33 years for a teacher to reach a $50,000 salary. The conservative reformers cut the time to 15 years for getting to $50,000, providing an incentive for good students to become teachers and a boost for retaining good teachers who can climb the pay scale quicker.

Duke University research shows professionals in law or medicine attain top earnings much faster than teachers. Generally, a doctor or lawyer can make as much at age forty as at fifty five. The new plan aligns teachers with other professionals.

Currently, we rank 41st in average teacher pay at $47,783. The Senate reformers will take us to first in the Southeast and 24th in the country in 2017 with average pay of $54,224. If the Senate plan becomes law, teachers will have gained $9234 or twenty percent raises since 2013.

According to our polling, 76% of the voters are more likely to vote for a candidate supporting a $50,000 teacher salary. 77% are more likely to vote for a candidate raising pay $3000, a goal the reformers meet immediately with an averages salary of $51,047 this coming school year.

With tax reform and a tight lid on spending, our economy is generating a $330 million budget surplus. Now is the time to leapfrog ahead in education with a bold advance in teacher pay, not anything timid.

Aligning teacher salaries with other professionals will attract good teachers. It’ll be good politics, too.