All of Those “Reforms” and “Historic Pay Raises” And NC is Still What?… About That CBS Report

On April 3rd, CBS News released a report entitled “The 9 states where teachers have it worst.”

When it comes to teacher pay, many politicians point at the “benefits” that teachers receive and tend to quantify that in an argument that teachers are fairly compensated. However, while those benefits are generous to those who have been grandfathered into them such as the retirement pension plan and retiree health insurance, those very pension plans are the targets of many states who are trying to manipulate the actual compensation of teachers who are newer.

Even the CBS report makes note of those benefits:

To be sure, teachers may not earn as much as other professionals, but they receive pensions, a retirement benefit that’s increasingly rare for Americans. A study of California public school teachers by the left-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute found that the majority “earn a healthy return on contributions and a level of retirement security few participants in account-style plans can count on” (

However, public school teachers usually do not receive severance pay, cannot negotiate salaries, do not get promotions unless they go into “administration,” get stock options, or can participate in a matching 401K plan.

The report then states,

There are 29 states where teachers are earning less than they did in the 1999-2000 school year, according to Education Department data. The cost of living has increased almost 50 percent since then. 

Afterwards, the report highlights the five states “where teachers saw the biggest decline in pay on an inflation adjusted basis.”

There was Arizona. Things are pretty bad in Arizona.

Then there was Michigan. That’s Betsy DeVos’s home state.

Then there is North Carolina.

The state’s educators earn just shy of $50,000 per year on average, slightly below the national figure. But their annual pay has declined almost 12 percent since 1999-2000, after adjusting for inflation. 

State tax cuts have been problematic for the state, according to the CBPP, which found that North Carolina is among the 7 states that have both reduced general school funding and cut income taxes. 

But has not the GOP-controlled North Carolina General Assembly enacted all of these reforms to “strengthen” public education? Well if one considers the following as “reforms”:

  • Removal of due-process rights
  • Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed
  • Standard 6
  • “Average” Raises
  • Less Money Spent per Pupil
  • Remove Caps on Class Sizes
  • Jeb Bush School Grading System
  • Cutting Teacher Assistants
  • Opportunity Grants
  • Unregulated Charter School Growth
  • Achievement School District
  • Virtual Schools
  • Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges
  • Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program and reinvention in a different entity.

Then it may not be hard to see how North Carolina has made that list.