That’s where North Carolina’s teacher’s rank in the National Education Association’s Annual survey of Teacher Salaries,
A few points to remember
- Last year, the average salary of a teacher in North Carolina was $51,231 and ranked 34th in the nation.
- In 2012-13 North Carolina ranked 47th in the Nation. Five consecutive years of salary increases have boosted average teacher salaries to $53,975.
- It’s important to note that these figures do not include the cost of social security ($4,129), health insurance ($6,104) or retirement benefits ($10,179). Added to the salary ($53,975), the total average compensation package for teachers is over $74,000.
- Nor are the figures adjusted for differences in the cost of living. Last year Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation found that although North Carolina ranked 39th on average teacher salary, when adjusted for cost of living , North Carolina actually ranked 29th in the nation.
Leave it to North Carolina Association of Educators, (NCAE), the local National Education Association affiliate, to find the bad news. NCAE said North Carolina teacher salaries still lag the national average ($61,782).
I know Gov. Cooper and NCAE want teacher salaries tied to the national average. However, there are problems with using an average. One of which is an average can be easily skewed by high numbers. That is exactly what happens. The high union membership, high salary states of the northeast and California pull up the average salary. We think of the average as representing the middle. In this case, it doesn’t. Thirty-eight states fall below the average national teacher salary of $61,782. Which may explain why teacher unions use the average rather than the median — which represents the true middle — when making the argument for higher teacher salaries.
Last time I checked however, no one lived in the national average. A more appropriate comparison would be to compare estimated average teacher salaries in North Carolina with neighbors in the southeast. That comparison places North Carolina teachers in second place behind Georgia.
The same NEA data finds average salaries of:
North Carolina -$53,975
South Carolina -$50,395
Those numbers put the issue in a different light.