RALEIGH — North Carolina public school teachers saw their pay drop to among the lowest in the country as state budget-balancing during the Great Recession included a multiyear pay freeze, according to a report Wednesday to the State Board of Education.
Pay for the teachers who educate the state’s roughly 1.5 million public school students ranks 46th in the country, above only Mississippi and West Virginia among 12 Southeastern states, the report said. Five years ago, North Carolina teachers’ salaries were in the middle of the state rankings.
That’s pretty bad. I guess. At first blush anyway. I’m not sure that ranking 4th from the top would be any better than 4th from the bottom. After all, I don’t wanna be in the position of overpaying teachers to perform at a level more consistent with the median salary range.
For example, the highest paying state is New York at $72,708 a year. However, New York SAT test scores are 43rd in the nation. North Carolina ranks 40th, a full 3 spots higher than New York.
The second highest spender on teachers? Massachusetts. At a spending rank of #2 they purchase the #27 spot in SAT scores. How about the worst SAT scoring state in the nation – Delaware. How much do THEY spend? They come in #13. So, for all that money Delaware spends, they come in dead last in SAT scores. But, you can argue that at a 100% test taking clip, they are at a disadvantage. So let’s go to the 2nd worst performing state – Washington DC. Their spend? #6 on the list.
Anyway, it got me to thinking. Who controls the spending in these various states? In Minnesota, for example, teacher salaries are negotiated and funded at the local district level. But here in North Carolina, a vast amount of the spending falls on the state. Perhaps if local citizens felt that their teachers needed to be better compensated, they could organize at the local level and pay the teachers as much as they like.
Just a thought.