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Colin Campbell: NC shortchanges veteran teachers’ pay

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Colin Campbell is editor of the Insider State Government News Service.

From a column by Colin Campbell of Insider State Government News Service:

The bigger problem with North Carolina’s teacher pay is how little your paycheck increases as you log years of experience in the classroom. The base salary for teachers with 10 years of experience is only $40,550, and teachers have to work 25 years before they reach the top of the pay scale: $51,300

It’s no wonder that many of the best teachers take higher paying jobs in school administration or leave the education profession entirely. Private sector salaries often increase far faster for high-performing workers.

Legislators recognize the problem, and Senate Republican leaders have tried in recent years to move toward a teacher salary scale where 15 years in the classroom gets you to the maximum salary.

So far, that effort hasn’t succeeded because it’s very difficult to make that change without shortchanging veteran teachers — who understandably expect to earn more than their less seasoned colleagues.

The other teacher pay problem in North Carolina is the wide variance in salaries between school districts and between states. While the average North Carolina teacher salary last year was $49,837, the state of New York (ranked first in the country) pays an average of $79,637. …

It’s no wonder low-income, rural counties struggle to keep good teachers and provide a quality education. And if we want to keep the gap between urban and rural North Carolina from getting wider, our leaders must find a way to offer competitive pay in disadvantaged communities.

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