NC Policy Bridge

Bridging the gap between educators and policymakers

Average teacher salary ranked 46th in the nation; pay average for new teachers ranked 48th

Posted: Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014

Average teacher salaries for North Carolina teachers remained ranked 46th in the nation in 2012-13, according to the National Education Association.

The North Carolina average was $45,737, while the national average was $56,103.

Rodney Ellis, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, said he was surprised the state hung on to the 46th spot because it was projected to drop lower.

Average salaries for beginning teachers in North Carolina were ranked 48th in the nation and, at $30,778, were the lowest in the region. Mississippi was the next lowest in the Southeast, with an entry-level salary of $31,184. The national average beginning pay was $39,241.

Bottom-scraping beginning salaries led Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders to promise to raise pay for early-career teachers over two years, setting a new floor at $35,000.


CMS to ask NC lawmakers for chance to craft better teacher plan

Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014

Joining a chorus of concern about the state’s “25 percent law” that phases out teacher tenure, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted unanimously Tuesday to ask state legislators for a chance to create its own plan.

Last summer state lawmakers ordered all districts to select 25 percent of qualified teachers to receive four-year contracts and $500-a-year bonuses, part of a move to phase out tenure for all teachers by 2018.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools resolution asks the General Assembly to grant all districts a one-year delay and allow districts to create plans that incorporate long- and short-term contracts and performance pay. It also calls for unspecified teacher raises this year and restoration of extra pay for advanced degrees in a teacher’s field of instruction.

Four leaders in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators brought letters and petitions urging the board to approve that resolution and go further.

McCrory’s pay plan creates buzz among educators at Emerging Issues Forum

Posted on 2/11/2014

“Watching what has happened to public education in North Carolina is like watching a tragedy unfold, act by act.”

Hard hitting words from historian and public education advocate Diane Ravitch, who addressed hundreds of educators, policy makers and advocates today at the 2014 Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh.

“Teachers and the Great Economic Debate” was the subject of the forum, bringing together thousands to consider how to train, retain and support world class teachers in every classroom to secure North Carolina’s future competitiveness.

Citing a long list of recent laws that many argue will hurt public education, Ravitch anticipated a brain drain for the state thanks to bad policies, said that charters and vouchers do not save kids from failing public schools but instead pave the way for resegregation, and bemoaned the loss of teacher tenure.

“The loss of career status…is the loss of academic freedom,” said Ravitch, who worried that teachers won’t be able to teach a child about Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man because a school board member doesn’t like it, or teach modern science because of its controversial nature.

State Board of Ed approves alternatives to Read to Achieve portfolio

Posted on 2/6/2014

Members of the State Board of Education approved today multiple alternative assessment methods for determining third grade reading proficiency, which were put forth by local school districts in an effort to reduce the burdensome testing methods that have fallen upon third graders across the state thanks to a new law passed in 2012.

“This is a train wreck,” said Mark Edwards, Superintendent Advisor to the Board, about the implementation of the new state mandate that requires all third graders to read on grade level before moving on to the fourth grade.

Edwards relayed stories to fellow board members of students throwing up in the morning before school and teachers worrying that the “assess and test” approach is killing the joy of reading for their students, thanks to the raft of tests that are coming down the pike as a result of the new law.

The Read to Achieve law is championed by Senate President Phil Berger, who wants to reduce the number of students being passed on to higher grades who are not reading an appropriate level. But the legislation has local school districts scrambling in the first year of implementation to make sure students do advance to the fourth grade. It has been projected up to 65 percent of third graders could fall short of the reading proficiency benchmark, in part because North Carolina is in the early stages of implementing more rigorous standards, including Common Core.

Local Control Calender Policy

Jonathan Sink, CMS lawyer, wrote about how a Local Control Calender Policy could benefit our students in his Op-Ed in the Charlotte Observer. He argues that school districts should have flexibility to set their own calendars.  Sink’s piece shares that high schools could benefit from an earlier opening date that would place midyear exams before Christmas break. Morrison said that if he could get that flexibility, even for just the high-poverty schools, he could provide academic gains by reducing the long summer break that often leads to learning loss.

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