Welcome back and thanks for checking in! I will be continuing the discussion that I started last Friday on the current debates within the North Carolina legislature regarding salary increases that affect the public school teachers around the state. If you missed last week’s blog, check it out here. The long debate, which began in early 2015, has finally come to a conclusion between lawmakers and legislative officials. With a spending plan that was supposed to be finalized back in June 2015, the wait is finally over for teachers and school officials but the results aren’t the best.
According to a recent article following the debate, “after months of delays and negotiations between the House and Senate, the state’s $21.74 billion budget will become law Friday with Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature”. (The News & Observer) The bill was passed in a final 81 to 33 vote by House. While the bill reserves 57 percent of the $21.74 billion dollar budget- a number that seems high- teachers will only receive about $750 dollars in pay raises with starting salaries increasing to $35,000, a figure that remains far below the national starting average of $44,900.
So what’s at stake? What do these low paying salaries mean for the future of teaching in NC? With poor compensation comes teaching careers that no longer appeal to individuals who would have otherwise made excellent teachers. It also means that the amount of teachers-both young and veteran- who leave their professions to either teach in other states with higher paying salaries or leave the profession all together increases. In fact, in a recent article by the Department of Public Instruction, more teachers are leaving North Carolina to teach in other states with the report indicating that 1,082 teachers left last year for other parts of the country- a figure that tripled since 2010. As more top quality, experienced teachers leave and less come in to take their place, the quality of education throughout the state gets put at risk which then affects the education outcomes of the students.
What are your thoughts on this popular topic? Why are teachers seemingly unappreciated and underpaid in North Carolina? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions so please share below!