Save Money in this Sunday's paper

N.C. Opinions: Winston-Salem

comments

Lt. Gov. Forest got one thing right on teacher pay

From an editorial in the (Winston-Salem) Journal on Tuesday:

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest drew attention to himself last week for telling conservative supporters in Greensboro that North Carolina should have the nation’s highest paid teachers.

But recognizing his audience, he quickly added no tax increase would be needed. Budget cuts could fund the raises.

We’re not so sure.

According to state figures, there are approximately 95,000 state-paid public-school teachers in our 2,526 public and charter schools. They earn an average of $45,938 a year, rank-ing 46th in the country, approximately $10,000 below the national average.

But our average is almost $27,500 below New York’s, the nation’s highest, according to the National Education Association. So if Forest proposed matching New York’s average salaries over the decade, the state would need more than $2.6 billion for teacher-salary increases alone. That represents more than 10 percent of the current state budget.

And our calculation doesn’t include principals, assistant principals, the teacher aides who are still working and other professionals such as librarians and counselors. They deserve raises, too.

Nor does it include teachers in our community colleges and universities, nor the thousands of state employees who will need raises, too.

Of course, over the next decade, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, states that pay their teachers the highest salaries, won’t be standing still. They’ll be raising teacher salaries, too. That $2.6 billion target looks mighty low, considering all of that.

Nonetheless, we applaud Forest for his concern and for shooting for the moon. It’s nice to see a prominent Republican politician who, like the 80 percent of North Carolinians recently surveyed by Elon University, feels that teachers are poorly paid.

Now that he’s initiated this idea, Forest should come forth with a realistic, short-term proposal to get a significant raise for our teachers.

First in the nation may not be realistic, or even necessary given our cost of living. But significantly better than 46th is essential.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
Your 2 Cents
Share your opinion with our Partners
Learn More