Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Crunching The Numbers On Why North Carolina Has Difficulty Obtaining and Retaining Teachers

Dear Beloved Readers,

I've been making the rounds in North Carolina regarding my book Brave Soul Rising:  Tales From The Trenches of An Uncharmed Life and I am hearing from many teachers.  Some readers at my most recent book club presentation asked me if I had brought the book to the attention of our new North Carolina School Superintendent, Mark Johnson.  I can say to you that over this past weekend I did send an email to Mr. Johnson's office regarding my book and what he and other state legislators might learn about why so many North Carolina college students do not major in Education today nor do many of our North Carolina educators remain in their teaching positions.  Obviously, based on my book, it's not just about the pay/salary; however, that is a huge factor.  Let me break down starting teacher pay in North Carolina for you and mind you, this is not average teacher pay, this is STARTING pay:

Based on the North Carolina Teacher Salary Schedule for the 2016-2017 school year:

If you have a bachelor's degree in Education with zero years of experience, you can expect to start at a pay level of $35,000 a year.  If that's the only degree you have under your belt, according to my analysis of the 2016-2017 North Carolina Salary Schedule, you would have to teach for 25 years before you break through to the salary level of $51,000.

If you have a  bachelor's degree in Education and you also work three to six years to obtain National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification, you still would have to work 15 years before breaking $50,080 in salary.  Plus, according to what I am hearing from teachers, achieving this certification costs quite a bit.  I'm hearing this certification status now costs around $1900, and it involves additional research, planning, and evaluation beyond what you are already expected to handle on a daily basis as a teacher working in North Carolina schools.

If you have a Master's Degree in Education as I do, but you are just starting your first year of teaching in North Carolina, you can expect to earn $38,500 assuming that degree is all you have and you have no additional years of teaching experience.  With just these credentials, a teacher in our state would then have to work 20 years before breaking $52,800 in salary.  If you obtain that National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification at the same cost as estimated above and the same length of time, you still must work 11 years before breaking $50,020 in salary.

It just doesn't make economic sense to major in Education and then teach in North Carolina schools with these kind of paltry figures. I mean even The Progressive Blog notes that a North Carolina teacher with 30 years experience and National Board Certification will average a base salary of $57,120.  The National Education Association notes that the highest teacher salaries are in New York ($77.600); Washington D.C. ($75,500); and Massachusetts ($75,440).

Obviously, when your college peers are starting their careers at what you as a North Carolina teacher would make only after working 20 years, you are left feeling devalued and frankly, mortified. 

Till my next post,