NC drops two spots in annual teacher salary rankings: State is $12,985 below national counterpart

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

The National Education Association (NEA) released its annual report of state educator pay and public education spending last week. North Carolina fell two spots in the teacher pay rankings, dropping to 38th in the nation. More troubling for teacher retention, North Carolina’s average teacher salary, $56,559, comes in at almost $13,000 below the national average.

According to the press release from Justin Guillory, the North Carolina Association of Educators communications director, while teacher salaries nationwide rose an average of 4.1 percent over the year, North Carolina’s average increased only 3.1 percent despite revenue surpluses.

“With a growing teacher shortage and falling enrollment in education prep courses, it is even more alarming that North Carolina’s starting teacher salaries ($40,136) rank 42nd in the nation and almost $15,000 below the minimum living wage,” the release stated.

The yearly rankings serve as a barometer for education policymakers and a measuring stick to compare states. North Carolina rose one spot to 38th in the ranking of per student spending at $13,173 per student.

“North Carolinians believe that our students should have the opportunity to learn, to grow and to thrive. Our public schools give the vast majority of those students that opportunity, but we could be doing so much more,” NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly said. “The latest data shows North Carolina again trailing our neighboring states like Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia on critical measures like per student spending and average teacher pay. North Carolina even fell two spots in the teacher pay rankings to 38th. Until we raise teacher pay to at least the national average and fully-fund our public schools, North Carolina is giving our youngest generation less than they deserve.”

The NEA data can be found at NEA has produced its highly respected “Rankings and Estimates” report since the 1960s and is widely cited as an authoritative source of comparative state education data.