Natalie Beyer, a volunteer board member for the liberal advocacy group Public Schools First NC, is disheartened by the Senate education budget.
Commenting in the News and Observer, Beyer said,“It’s becoming more and more challenging to retain experienced teachers. NCAE reported it takes 15 years for a teacher in North Carolina to finally make $40,000. We can choose to invest in people, and our teaching professionals deserve our investment.”
Natalie should blame NCAE for her sour mood, because the state’s largest teacher organization is reporting isn’t the whole story. First let’s say it’s technically true that under the current salary schedule – if a teacher received no salary supplement or received no additional pay for having an advanced degree or national certification — it would take 15 years to earn $40,000 in salary. However, what NCAE is leaving out is that many teachers receive a local salary supplement. In 2010-11 (the latest year available), the average local salary supplement was about $3,500. According to the data nearly all counties had teachers receiving some form of local supplement.
In addition, teachers also supplement their income by acquiring a masters degree or doctorate. When teachers earn National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, they earn an automatic 12 percent boost in salary. North Carolina has approximately 19,800 NBPTS teachers, more than any other state. Finally, teachers also receive an additional salary supplement if they have an advanced degree (masters or doctorate) and receive NBPTS certification.
All told, the path teachers must take to earn $40,000 is in reality much shorter than NCAE claims. And that’s the rest of the story.