Numbers and Perspectives Concerning NC Public Education – Again, Why May 1st is Important

Every Monday, NC Policy Watch does a segment called “Monday Numbers.”

This week’s was on public education with a list compiled by Clayton Henkel. And while this post does list the very numbers that Henkel reports (and this writer is thankful for those numbers), it might be worthwhile to add a couple of other points of information to maybe lend a little more weight.

  • 93,411 – the number of North Carolina public school teachers for the current fiscal year (Source: DPI) .
    Also consider the number of classified staff, administration, and other support personnel in these numbers and then take a look at the downward trend of teacher candidates in our state’s schools of education.
  • $53,975 – the average teacher salary in North Carolina this school year (NEA).
    Remember that this includes local supplements that the state does not fund or bonuses for stigmatizing standardized tests. And the current salry scale cannot keep this average in the future.
  • $57, 137 – the average teacher salary in Georgia this school year.
    Georgia still pays for graduate degree obtainment. In fact, the give a sizable raise for each graduate degree that one earns – Master’s, Ed.S., Ed.D., Ph.D.
  • $60,462 – the national average teacher salary in 2017-18 (Source: NEA).
    After all of those historic raises, NC is still over $6,000 behind the national average.
  • $37,631 – average starting salary for a teacher in North Carolina (Ibid).
    Take a look at what the the ending salary will be for those new teachers.
  • $39,249 – average starting teacher salary in the U.S.
    Again, after all of those historic raises, NC is still over $6,000 behind the national average.
  • 29th – North Carolina’s national ranking for teacher compensation.
    This is improving, but will go down when veteran teachers who still have graduate degree pay and NBCT certification start retiring or leaving the profession.
  • 4 – the number of times over the last ten years that teachers and state employees received no raise whatsoever (2009-10, 10-11, 11-12 and 2013-14).
    Some political pundits scream that two of these years were under the “Democrats.” Maybe looking at when the Great Recession was hurting everyone in the state.
  • 9.1 – the percentage increase teachers would see over two years under Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed budget.
    And that increase is more evenly spread out among all teachers – even veteran ones.
  • $125 – the amount the House two-year spending plan would provide for teachers to purchase classroom supplies.
    Wait, didn’t Mark Johnson say that we were going to have $400 because teachers really “needed” it?
  • 36 – the percentage of teachers in a national poll who say they spent between $251 and $500 annually on classroom supplies (Source: National Center for Education Statistics).
    Lower that expenditure number to $125 or even $200 and see what the percentage of teachers is.
  • -$21 – the amount by which average, inflation-adjusted weekly wages of U.S. public school teachers decreased between 1996 and 2018 (Source: Economic Policy Institute: The teacher weekly wage penalty).
    That’s a weekly reoccurring loss over the course of 23 years.
  • +$323 – the amount by which average weekly wage for college graduates in other professions rose over the same period (Ibid).
    -21 compared to +323.
  • 8.09% – the overall statewide attrition rate of North Carolina public school teachers in the 2017-18 school year (Source: DPI).
    And take into consideration how many fewer future teachers we have in our schools of education.
  • 7.25% – the attrition rate for experienced, licensed teachers (Ibid).
    That’s another way of saying how quickly veteran teachers are leaving the profession.
  • 5%  – pay raise that May 1 rally attendees are seeking for all non-certified public school staff.
    Because they deserve it.
  • 5% – cost of living hike that rally attendees are seeking for retirees.
    Because they deserve it.
  • $15 – hourly wage attendees are seeking for custodians and other essential school personnel who have not seen wages increase in recent years.
    Because they deserve it.
  • $11.41 – current average hourly wage for a school custodian in Guilford County (Source:
    Take a look at what a living wage for that person would be in NC.
  • $18,094 – average annual pay for a school custodian in North Carolina (Source: Ziprecruiter).
    Take a look at what a living wage for that person would be in NC.
  • $11,934 – average national per-pupil spending last year according to the NEA.
  • $9,528 – average amount North Carolina spent.
  • 39th – North Carolina’s national rank for per-pupil spending.
    Those numbers are not flattering.
  • 1:378 – current counselor-to-student ratio in North Carolina.
  • 1:1,073 – current nurse-to-student ratio.
  • 1,556,141 – the total average daily membership of students attending North Carolina schools for the 2018-19 school year.
    Those numbers are not flattering.
  • 7 – number of days since Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger labeled the NCAE’s Day of Action a “far-left strike.”
    Everyone whose last name is not Koch is “far-left” of Berger.
  • 2 – number of days until thousands of teachers and public school advocates come to Raleigh to make their voices heard.
    Voices will be heard every day.
  • 70 – percentage of the state’s voters – including more than half of Republicans — who say they support teachers taking the day off to share concerns with lawmakers (Source: Public Policy Polling).
    Seems the court of public opinion agrees with teachers.