Look at Teacher Pay in This Way

“The average wage nationally for people who hold at least a four-year college degree, as teachers must, is $66,872, according to the U.S. Department of Labor”(https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2018/05/16/comparing-your-salary-teacher-pay-north-carolina/617441002/).

Below is the latest salary schedule for teachers in North Carolina.


Now that a new teacher in North Carolina cannot get a pay bump for a graduate degree, the most he/she will ever make in a career according to this schedule is 58,240 if he/she chooses to invest money into national certification (which NC used to pay for).

One might argue that this salary schedule will show increases in the years to come. That same argument could be made for all salaries; therefore, the average salary for anyone with a comparable educational background will rise as well.

What follows is a chronological list of quotes, statistics, and other reports about teacher pay, the need to raise the teaching profession, and the walking contradiction that is State Superintendent Mark Johnson.

April 18, 2016:

According to media reports, average teacher pay in North Carolina ranks 42nd nationally. Last year, the state legislature increased starting teacher pay and gave teachers a one-time bonus of $750.

Atkinson said average principal pay in North Carolina public schools is 49th or 50th in the nation.

She said a 30 percent drop in enrollment in university and college teacher education programs statewide since 2010, was largely due to low teacher pay.
“Our teachers are better educated than ever today, but we’ve got challenges,” she said (http://www.journalpatriot.com/news/atkinson-teacher-shortage-looms/article_066628f0-0592-11e6-9d1f-97e69c4ecc03.html).

September 7, 2016:

“Most teachers and school leaders work tirelessly for their students despite the challenges. They are not to blame, and I am grateful to lawmakers in Raleigh (and my fellow board members in Forsyth County) for seeking much-needed, overdue raises for them.” – Mark Johnson (https://www.ednc.org/2016/09/07/our-american-dream/).

September 30, 2016:

Johnson supports continued salary increases, the teacher-leader model and increasing pay for teachers working in struggling schools. But Johnson said teachers also need better professional development opportunities and to be treated “like professionals” – Mark Johnson (http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/education-candidates-spar-on-teacher-salaries-charter-schools-and-more/article_a75fbf84-9f8b-5a81-8ad3-8f4b24880b5d.html).

December 20, 2017:

“So, we worked with the General Assembly to secure $105 million for desperately needed new schools in our most economically disadvantaged counties and to reestablish NC Teaching Fellows scholarships to support future educators who will teach hard-to-staff subjects” – Mark Johnson (https://www.ednc.org/2017/12/20/north-carolina-public-schools-accelerating-2018/).

January 26, 2018:

The median weekly salary nationally for full-time workers between the age of 20 and 24 in the last quarter of 2017 was $528 a week, or $27,456 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It increased to $724 a week, or $37,648 a year, for people between the ages of 25 and 34 (http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article196911774.html?__twitter_impression=true).

January 26, 2018:

But looking only at college graduates, students majoring in other professions reported much higher starting salaries than new teachers. The average salary for an education major in the Class of 2017 was $37,046 nationally, compared to $74,183 for computer science majors, $64,530 for engineering majors and $53,259 for math and statistics majors, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers(http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article196911774.html?__twitter_impression=true).

January 26, 2018:

During a question-and-answer session Thursday at the N.C. School Boards Association’s policy conference in Raleigh, Johnson said that the base state starting salary of $35,000 for North Carolina teachers was “good money” and “a lot of money” for people in their mid-20s (http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article196911774.html?__twitter_impression=true).

January 26, 2018:

“But that $35,000 mark for a starting salary if you’re in your early 20s, that is really good, especially in some of our rural districts.” – Mark Johnson (http://www.wral.com/nc-superintendent-defends-teacher-pay-comments-amid-criticism/17292076/).

January 26, 2018:

“Teaching is the most important job. It’s one of the most difficult. Without teachers, no one else has a profession.” – Mark Johnson (http://www.wral.com/nc-superintendent-defends-teacher-pay-comments-amid-criticism/17292076/).

January 26, 2018: 

From Thad Ogburn of the N&O – @thadogburn

johnson salary

Yes, teachers have an argument that we need to receive higher salaries. But look at it in the light of what teachers receive in comparison to other professions that require a comparable educational background (4-year degree, etc.). Then make an honest decision about how important it is to keep great qualified teachers in the classroom for their entire careers.