North Carolina now ranks # 46 nationally in the amount of money we pay our teachers:
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.
New York, DC and Massachusetts probably have high salaries due to large urban populations. People teaching in rural Maine receive much less than New York City, but I don’t think any of them would trade. The cost of living increase would cancel the salary increase, and the job would be ten times more difficult. So while I think you’re right that pay does not necessarily equate to better teachers, INCENTIVES MATTER. The best people will only choose to teach if they have an incentive. Especially with NCLB and other pressures, many good teachers are deciding they can make more money doing something else. There are often brilliant teachers who could be making five times their salary but are devoted to teaching. But that’s rare. Not sure about who makes decisions, but in general education spending is easy to cut, and people often don’t realize the amount of work and out of pocket expenses K-12 educators have. But you can’t simply link SAT scores to teacher pay, there are a myriad of other causal factors.
So while I think you’re right that pay does not necessarily equate to better teachers, INCENTIVES MATTER.
Very true. Which is why I got out. I saw right away that I would never make more money that that freakin slob of a PE teacher only because he’s been teaching 10 years more than me.
Never. As a Sr High math teacher I would never make more than him, no matter how excellent I was.
The best people will only choose to teach if they have an incentive.
Which is why we should pay teachers based on merit and not steps and lanes.
But you can’t simply link SAT scores to teacher pay, there are a myriad of other causal factors.
Nope, I agree. SAT scores are without value when it comes to assessing a teacher. But we CAN measure how many years of learning a kid received based on the teacher.
An average teacher delivers 1 year of learning in 1 year of school. An excellent teacher delivers 1.5 years of learning per year of school. A shitty teacher only .5 years.
The best teachers deliver a full year more of learning than the worst.
Fire the ineffectual and pay the best like Rock Stars.
Makes sense to me!