Loading...
Judge not lest ye be judged" is a foundation of faith. However, I have never met anyone who did not judge. Is it even...

State makes laudable strides in teacher pay

Teacher Protests North Carolina-1

Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, asks teachers to refrain from causing a disturbance in the House and Senate chambers during a teachers rally in Raleigh in May. Thousands of teachers rallied the state capital over wages and funding for public school classrooms.

Loading…

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Even though there’s still much work to do, it’s worth pausing for a moment to celebrate some success: North Carolina teacher pay has made continuous and laudable improvement in the past few years.

It’s a welcome trend after this state’s recession-ravaged teacher compensation flirted with the bottom of the barrel.

According to figures compiled by the National Education Association, teacher pay here has risen from 47th in the nation in 2013 to 29th in the current school year. That’s wonderful but not nearly enough for a state that needs a great education system to continue its extraordinary economic progress.

Before the Great Recession, public-school teacher pay stood at the national average. We’re still a fair bit short of that. According to the NEA’s figures, average teacher pay here is $53,975, up more than $2,700 from the previous school year. But that’s about $7,800 behind the national average. The state still has a steep climb ahead if our leaders are serious about returning to the national average.

We’re looking good in the context of the Southeast. Our teacher pay has risen from fourth in the region to second. Political leaders have been quick to make hay on the numbers. A spokesman for House Speaker Tim Moore pointed out that Republicans “inherited a ranking of 47th from Democrats and overcame their opposition to pass all five consecutive salary raises and provide dramatically higher paychecks for our state’s educators.” He neglected to mention the recession and that Democratic lawmakers not only supported all those raises, but often pushed for larger ones. We know these people are professional politicians, but isn’t improved education one place where partisanship is off the table and the best interests of our children are on it?

Fortunately, Republican State Superintendent Mark Johnson mostly kept politics out of it when he reacted to the NEA’s figures. “North Carolina’s meteoric rise in just five years is a major accomplishment and shows our commitment to teachers and students,” he said in a statement. “We must continue to be aggressive on teacher pay and also on treating teachers as professionals in other ways — providing advanced teacher roles for professional growth, better pay for assistant principals and principals, and providing 21st century tools and support for educators and students.”

We’ll take it another step. It’s not just teacher pay that suffered during and immediately after the recession. Thousands of other important positions were cut in our schools, especially teacher assistants who provided valuable classroom help and filled other key roles. Countless school nurses, guidance counselors and other valuable support positions were eliminated.

Now, as we face a national epidemic of school violence and mass shootings, our school systems are begging for more nurses, counselors and psychologists, as well as the completely reasonable provision of at least one sworn police officer (a trained school resources officer) in each of our public schools.

It’s good to see our teacher salaries stand second in the Southeast, but given our state’s challenges, even No. 1 in the region isn’t good enough, nor is simply hitting the national salary average. There’s no need to pay teachers the kind of money they get in places like New York or Connecticut, because our cost of living is far lower. But better than the midpoint? Yes, definitely.

North Carolina has made great progress building one of the nation’s powerhouse economies that’s attracting some of the leading companies in the world. If we want to continue, we’ve got to build a world-class public education system that will turn out the well-trained, sophisticated workforce these companies need. The investment in our teachers and other education professionals must continue to grow.

The Fayetteville Observer

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

June 10, 2019

As the election results became clear in 2016, financial markets rose amid a surge of economic optimism. That surge continued for two years as Donald Trump and Republicans pursued a pro-growth agenda of tax reform, deregulation and encouraging domestic energy production. But with Democrats now…

June 08, 2019

Keith Cox served the residents of Virginia Beach in the public utilities department for 12 years.

Well-liked by co-workers, he spent his final moments on Friday working to protect them from a gunman in the municipal center — sacrificing his life in the process.

The remembrance of Cox,…

APTOPIX Virginia Beach Shooting-6

June 04, 2019

Give Harry Smith credit for being willing to do his homework and change his mind.

Smith, the usually outspoken and politically conservative chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, emerged from a recent board meeting and told reporters that his thinking about what to do…

Confederate Monuments-5

June 03, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence came to Charlotte this week for a 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff event. The visit was a reminder of the discomfort many feel in this progressive city about the 2020 RNC — an uneasiness so deep that Mayor Vi Lyles said last summer that she wouldn’t…

RNC Charlotte 2020-4

June 01, 2019

A state budget is a spending plan, but the proposal the state Senate’s Republican majority presented Tuesday is better described as an anti-spending plan. It is an unalloyed version of Senate leader Phil Berger’s iron-rule of government: Cut taxes and spend the absolute minimum. If…

State Of The State North Carolina-3

May 28, 2019

Around the turn of the last century, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie paid to build 1,689 libraries across the United States. Many are still in use, celebrated as monumental works of philanthropy.

They should be seen as monuments to the failure of public policy. The United States could have built…

May 27, 2019

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community — or perhaps anyone who has lived in North Carolina the past decade — you were probably surprised to learn that Thom Tillis is a “pro-LGBTQ Republican.”

It’s true, according to the American Unity Fund, a conservative gay…

Border Security Tillis-2

May 25, 2019

Want to understand how the tariffs on China work? Don’t take President Donald Trump’s word for it.

Here’s what he’s had to say. We’ll follow with why he’s wrong, who really pays and who really suffers (hint, it’s not China or Trump).

First, from…

China Trade-2

May 21, 2019

Our planet is on life support.

That’s the dire message from a landmark United Nations report that found one million species of plants and animals — out of a total of eight million — are at risk of extinction as the result of human actions.

It’s a message the world dare not…

Trump Giraffes Endangered

May 20, 2019

Kim Strach, the executive director of the state Board of Elections, was doing a good job before she got fired Monday. She’d helped guide the board through the minefield of the 9th Congressional District election fraud scandal. She’d offered strong suggestions to lawmakers about…

Election 2018 North Carolina-6
49 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 5
        Next Page»   Last Page»