The latest Elon University Poll asked 621 North Carolina residents the following question:

In general, do you think teachers in North Carolina K through 12 public schools are paid too much, too little, or about right.

Predictably, 85 percent of the respondents said that teachers are paid “too little.”

Most North Carolinians have no idea how much teachers are paid in this state. If asked, I suspect that they would underestimate the statewide average teacher salary by several thousand dollars.  That is why I believe that any teacher compensation question should include basic salary figures.

And “too little” is too subjective of an answer to be useful.  For example, other pollsters establish a standard, e.g., the national average, the highest in the Southeast, etc., and ask respondents if the state should raise salaries to that level.  Otherwise, a pollster could cite the average salary figure and ask respondents to identify the dollar or percentage increase that teachers should receive.

Don’t get me wrong.  A majority of respondents will still say that teachers are underpaid.  But I doubt that it would reach 85 percent.