RALEIGH – While most eyes are on the coronavirus and the consequential government response, some at the Civitas Institute having maintained watch over the biggest issues in state politics before we were slammed with a pandemic panic. Bob Luebke revisits the teacher pay issue with a review of the myths and facts of the focal issue, and offers a better way to approach it.
“Teachers are underpaid and disrespected in North Carolina. That’s an oft-repeated refrain of activist teacher organizations like the North Carolina Association of Educators, Red4EdNC and other progressive organizations who assert: if we want better schools, we need to pay our teachers more. Higher pay will attract better teachers, which will lead to higher graduation rates, better jobs and higher lifetime earnings, so the argument goes.
NCAE and other organizations rally for change by claiming teachers are poorly paid and poorly treated. Strong claims. They beg us to ask: Are the claims true? Let’s look at the facts:
Are teachers disrespected?
Teachers have received five pay raises in a row.[i] It would have been six if Gov. Cooper had not vetoed the 2019-20 state budget. Over the past five years teachers have received the following raises:
2014-15 — 7.0%
2015-16 — 3.8%
2016-17 — 4.7%
2018-19 — 6.5%