RALEIGH – A major component in education spending, of course, is teacher pay. A quality teacher can make an enormous difference in a child’s future.
North Carolina’s rank in K-12 teacher peaked in 2001, when the state’s average teacher salary reached a rank of 19th in the nation.
In 2000-01, the average salary for North Carolina teachers was just $2,644 short of the national average. After that, however, the state began a long slide, until it ranked 47th in teacher pay in 2013-14.
Legislators have since raised average teacher pay to $50,861 and the state’s rank to 37th in 2017-18.
Yet despite that progress, North Carolina’s average teacher salary fell $9,622 below the national average last year.
Among Southeastern states, North Carolina ranked right in the middle, at 6th in 2017-18 – yet behind all our adjacent states. North Carolina’s average annual teacher salary of $50,861 trailed that of 3rd-ranked Virginia by just $404. But it fell $5,468 behind region-leading Georgia.
After nearly 20,000 frustrated teachers greeted North Carolina legislators with a march on the opening day of their 2018 session,1 legislators increased the 6.2% raises they budgeted last year for teachers in 2018-19 to an average raise of 6.5%.
Assuming that is more than raises granted to teachers in most states, the 6.5% raise this year should continue to improve the state’s rank in teacher pay.2