Teacher Compensation

  • NC ranked 37th in the nation for teacher pay in 2018, $9,600 less than the national average. (WRAL, 4/23/18)
  • CNBC placed NC among the five lowest paying states for teachers. (CNBC, 7/17/17)
  • The average salary for classroom teachers in NC is about $6,600 less than the living wage for a family of one adult and two children. (MIT, WRAL)
  • 2017 budget only increased teacher pay, including for 25-year veterans, by $30 a month—little more than a tank of gas.
  • Starting teacher pay remains at $35,000.
  • Enrollment in teaching programs is down 30 percent over the past 5 years with other states luring away teachers with higher salaries.
  • In 2017, North Carolina ranked 46th in a list of “Best and Worst States for Teachers.” (WalletHub, 9/25/17)
  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics when adjusting for inflation North Carolina teacher pay fell 13% between 1999 and 2015, and based on NEA numbers when accounting for inflation teacher pay is down 9.4% from 2009 to 2018.

Education Funding

  • North Carolina failed to improve in per-pupil spending between 2017 and 2018, remaining 39th in the nation and over $2,400 below the national average. (NEA Rankings & Estimates, 2016-2017; 2017-18)
  • Schools are facing a textbook shortage and thousands of teacher assistants have been cut in the past five years.
  • North Carolina has fewer teachers and more students, yet lawmakers have refused to return per-pupil spending to pre-recession levels.
  • Teachers are forced to compensate for their lack of resources by spending an average of $500 to $1000 out-of-pocket each year for school supplies.
  • In 2016 families spent an average of $650 on school supplies for elementary-age students, about $1,000 for middle schoolers. (NBC, 8/31/17)

Tax Breaks Are the Culprit

  • Billions of dollars that should have been spent on education have gone towards tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.
  • Tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations were given at the expense of lower and middle-class taxpayers and significantly reduced the state’s revenue.
  • The corporate income tax rate has been significantly lowered since 2013 and was lowered from 3 to 2.5 percent between 2016 and 2017, making NC’s the lowest in the nation.
  • Tax cuts have reduced the yearly state budget by an estimated $3.5 billion.
  • In 2014 lawmakers eliminated back-to-school sales tax holidays that previously offered a reprieve for educators and families purchasing supplies.
  • A proposed constitutional amendment to lower the cap on income tax rates would lock in tax cuts for the wealthy while making less money available for our schools—permanently.

Students Are Paying the Price

  • North Carolina’s dropout rate increased between 2015-16 and 2016-17. After years of steady decline, the dropout rate increased for the first time in the 2014-15 school year. (DPI)
  • Latinx students have the highest dropout rate, but only White and Asian/Pacific Islander students have dropout rates below the statewide average and are the only groups that saw a decrease in dropout rate between 2015-16 and 2016-17. (DPI)
  • Six-year dropout rate trends show a steady increase in the choice of work over school as the reason for dropping out of high school. (DPI)
  • While 48.8 percent of students statewide are “college and career ready,” only 29.7 percent of Black students are “college and career ready.” (DPI)