Reason #1 To March For Students & Rally for Respect On May 16th – “Average” Raises and Still Below Average Salaries


It was reported this year that North Carolina finally had an average salary for teachers over $50,000 a year.

“Recently released figures from the state Department of Public Instruction put the average salary for a North Carolina public school teacher at $51,214 this school year. That’s $1,245 more than the previous school year.

The $50,000 benchmark has been a major symbolic milestone, with Republican candidates having campaigned in 2016 about how that figure had already been reached” ( ).

But that is incredibly misleading. So is the claim that NC has given some of the highest “average” raises in the country because NC is still very far behind the national average for teacher pay.

The operative word here is “average”. What GOP stalwarts purposefully fail to tell you is that most of the raises have occurred at the very low rungs of the salary schedule. Of course, you can raise the salary of first year teachers by a few thousand dollars and it would give them an average raise of maybe 10-15%. You would only have to give veteran teachers a very small raise funded by longevity pay (which we no longer get) and the OVERALL average raise still looks good, and not much money has to be invested.

“Average” does not mean “actual”. Actually it’s like an average of the average. But it sounds great to those who don’t understand the math.

This reflects a whopping double standard of the NC General Assembly and a total contradiction to what is really happening to average teacher pay. Just follow my logic and see if it makes sense.

The last six years have seen tremendous changes to teacher pay. For new teachers entering in the profession here in NC there is no longer any graduate degree pay bump, no more longevity pay (for anyone), and a changed salary schedule that only makes it possible for a teacher to top out on the salary schedule with a little over 51K per year.


So how can that be the average pay in NC be over 50K when no one can really make much over 50K as a new teacher in his/her entire career unless they all become nationally certified (which takes a monetary investment by the teacher to start)?

Easy. North Carolina is counting all of the veteran teachers’ current salaries in that figure. The very people whose salaries simply disgusted the former governor and the General Assembly to the point that they had to take measures to “lower” them are actually being used to tout this new wonderful “average.”

Furthermore, this average is counting on local supplements. This comes in the face of budgets that are allocating less money to each central office of each school system for administrative costs. Now each county has to raise more money to actually offset those costs and also allow for local supplements. And not all localities provide the same supplements.

Plus, those LEA’s will have to do something in the next few years to raise even more money to meet the requirements fo the delayed class size mandate.

Any veteran teacher who is making above 50K based on seniority, graduate pay, and national boards are gladly counted in this figure. It simply drives up the CURRENT average pay. But when these veteran teachers who have seniority, graduate pay, and possibly national certification retire (and many are doing that early at 25 years), then the very people who seem to be a “burden” on the educational budget leave the system.

In actuality, that would drive the average salary down as time goes on. If the top salary that any teacher could make is barely over 50K (some will have higher as National Board Certified Teachers, but not a high percentage), then how can you really tout that average salaries will be higher?

You can if you are only talking about the right here and right now.

The “average bear” can turn into a bigger creature if allowed to be mutated by election year propaganda.

Remember the word “average” is a very easy word to manipulate. Politicians use it well. In this case, the very teachers who are driving the “average” salary up are the very people that the state wants to not have in a few years. There will then be a new average. It can’t possibly be over 50K then if current trends keep going.

6 thoughts on “Reason #1 To March For Students & Rally for Respect On May 16th – “Average” Raises and Still Below Average Salaries

  1. Here are some trends worth noting.
    · In 2017 National Education Association data, NC had the fastest rising teacher pay in the U.S.
    · In 2018 National Education Association data, NC has the 2nd fastest rising teacher pay in the U.S.
    · The teacher pay increase scheduled for the 2018 state budget is 6.5%.
    · The total teacher pay increase for 2017-18 biennium will be 11%.
    · The 2018 state budget will provide a fifth consecutive teacher pay raise.
    · A 4th year educator – who started teaching when the raises started in 2014– makes $6,500 more now than he first year in NC schools.
    · Teachers in 11th year of teaching in NC received a $10,000 raise since 2014.
    · Teachers in 25th year in NC schools received an $8,480 pay increase since 2014.


    • And yet the gap between the state and nation remains the same percentage. If you want to make the argument that the teacher pay increase was for all teachers then you need to do a better job.


    • The reason teachers seemed to get large raises in 2014 is that from 2008 to 2013, teacher pay was frozen. No one got any sort of cost-of-living increase from the state. I was hired as a first year for the 2007-2008 school year at just under $30,000 a year; I stayed at that salary for six years.


  2. Pingback: First 10 Reasons To March For Students & Rally for Respect On May 16th | caffeinated rage

  3. What about all the classified staff that make way less than a teacher does, who work hard to keep this system running daily. No one fights for any of those people!!!!!!@!!


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