by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Capitol Broadcasting Company, which is owned by multimillionaire backers of multiple left-wing advocacy organizations, decided to opine on teacher pay today. It is a pretty amusing piece. This passage, for example, is trying to make one point but actually makes another:
First, average teacher pay – the average salary for all North Carolina’s public school teachers – is NOT what the average teacher makes. Nearly two-thirds of the state’s public classroom teachers were paid LESS than the average.
The “average” teacher makes the same as the “great” teacher because the state’s uniform salary schedule only considers experience and credentials to be worthy of salary differentiation. And because it is an experience-based system, the “average” can rise or fall depending on the experience level of the teacher workforce. In other words, the larger the share of young teachers (and N.C. has a relatively large share), the lower the average will be.
And then there is this nonsense of a passage:
Also, average teacher pay includes local supplements, money that comes from local taxpayers in specific districts, that vary widely depending on the school district. Several districts don’t provide any supplements. Yet, the expectations of a second grade teacher in Bertie County (which doesn’t provide a local supplement) are no different than the expectations of a second grade teacher in Wake County, which provides one of the most generous supplements. In fact, North Carolina courts have ruled the state’s Constitution mandates “a sound basic education” for every child.
Only four of the state’s 115 districts do not award a salary supplement to teachers. Despite not having a local supplement, Bertie spends more than most other school districts in North Carolina. Bertie County’s per-student expenditure was $12,362 in 2017 (8th highest in N.C.), compared to $8,742 in Wake County (98th in N.C.). Supplements are a very small part of overall spending, and there is no evidence of a relationship between the size of the supplement and the performance of the district.
The editorial concludes by urging readers to “Vote for legislative candidates who value teaching and truly want a quality system of public education.” I’d rather folks vote for legislative candidates that truly want children to excel, regardless of the “system” that they are in.