JLF’s Donna Martinez was featured in an installment of NC SPIN’s “After SPIN!” Martinez spoke with the show’s host, Tom Campbell, about teacher pay in North Carolina.

Martinez noted that the popular narrative around teacher pay leads to misconceptions about how much teachers actually make. She stated:

I think if you asked the average person on the street “What does a North Carolina teacher make?” They would probably say $35,000 or $40,000 because we have a narrative that they are underpaid. If you actually look at the latest figures it is a really fascinating and good story. For the 2018-19 year, average teacher pay was right at $54,000 a year. If you add on all the benefits – that’s retirement, insurance, all of those things – it bumped it up to about $73,000 a year… And those are DPI figures.
Martinez also brings up the fact that teachers in North Carolina have received five consecutive pay raises, and within the proposed biennium budget are the sixth and seventh.

Ideally, Martinez remarks, teachers will one day be paid based on the effectiveness of their teaching, and good teachers will be justly compensated for their talent. Martinez says:

We need to get into merit pay and differential pay and start really paying well teachers who are effective in the classroom…

I think it would be unfair to say to a teacher that we are going to pay them strictly based on student achievement – because we know there are all sorts of things that kids bring into the classroom that teachers can’t control. But we do need to focus more on that: pay well the teachers who are effective at student achievement. 

Watch the full video above, and find out more about teacher pay in our new 2020 addition of N.C. Policy Solutions here.