NC09 Debate fact-check reveals dismal state of NC teacher pay

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This is why you should wear red for ed:

When moderator Christine Sperow asked the candidates to address the economic concerns of rural farmers, McCready quickly transitioned to Bishop’s performance on teacher pay. McCready argued that the state of public education in North Carolina is harming rural North Carolinians just as much as the Trump administration’s trade policies. “We have got to be investing in our public schools,” McCready said, “alongside taking on China, to make life better for so many people.”

Bishop interjected, saying he supported teacher pay increases in the state budget for five consecutive years. A sixth and seventh consecutive raise would be possible, Bishop said, if Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hadn’t vetoed this year’s state budget. Bishop is right — the past five budgets have increased teacher pay — but critics say these raises weren’t enough.

While Congress has zero impact on NC teacher pay, this is a legitimate debate point because it reveals how ineffective Bishop (and his GOP colleagues) have been in managing critical state policies and programs. And these numbers can't be harped on enough:

When adjusted for inflation, teachers are actually making less now than they were before the Great Recession. McCready said the average teacher salary in North Carolina is “almost $10,000 less than the national average.”

McCready’s statement is mostly true. Last year, the average teacher salary in North Carolina was $53,975 — compared to the national average of $61,730. North Carolina currently ranks 29th in the nation for teacher pay.

However, most North Carolina teachers aren’t making $53,975.

The North Carolina Association of Educators says this number is skewed by a number of factors, including the large number of long-term educators at the higher end of the pay scale and the local supplements that some counties pay to their teachers.

Without supplementary pay, the average NC teacher makes only $49,395 annually.

About the author: Paige Masten is one of the newest members of UNC Media Hub, a journalism incubator overseen by former Editor (N&R) John Robinson. A lot of these students had prior experience writing for the Daily Tar Heel and other publications, and their work at the Hub meets or surpasses the quality of journalism we see in much of mainstream reporting. Take a deep dive into their work, you won't regret it.

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