by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Governor Easley announced that North Carolina will raise its average teacher salary to the national average in three years. Adjusted for cost of living, pension contribution, and teacher experience, however, the state’s average teacher salary ranks 11th in the nation and is about $1,600 above the national average. There is no evidence to support the governor’s contention that a higher average salary will aid in recruiting and retaining a high-quality teacher workforce or will make students more competitive in the global economy. A system of merit-based pay would provide an incentive for highly qualified individuals to enter and stay in the teaching profession.