by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Earlier this week, state budget writers announced that public school teachers would receive an average pay increase of 4.7 percent, which would boost average teacher pay to an estimated $50,186 per year.
If that salary estimate were applied to the most recent National Education Association (NEA) rankings of average teacher pay, North Carolina’s nominal teacher pay would jump from 41st to 34th in the nation. If adjusted for cost of living, North Carolina’s ranking would rise from 33rd to 28th in the nation.
It is important to note that teacher pay rankings are not static. There will be changes to the salaries, size, and/or experience-level of the public school teacher workforce in other states. Some of those changes may benefit North Carolina in the ranking. Others may not.
That said, I have little doubt that North Carolina will rank higher in next year’s NEA report. At this point, however, it is difficult to say just how many states we’ll leapfrog along the way.