Last week Stephanie sent me a very interesting map called, The United States of Shame. And a few states stood out to me: Virginia, of course; Washington, which was a little disturbing; Utah was strange and surprising; and for whatever reason, the fact North Carolina had the lowest teacher salaries, caught my attention.
Obviously being a teacher played into me noticing North Carolina among the shame of arson, gonorrhea, and what exactly does weakest government influence mean? But more than that, I think I have always wanted to live in North Carolina. The Wrightsville Beach area is beautiful and I love Asheville! So I guess seeing that NC pays teachers poorly sort of struck a nerve with me. But then came the news, which guaranteed I will NEVER move to North Carolina.
North Carolina Gets Worse
The new state legislature isn’t exactly teacher friendly:
- The state’s teacher tenure program is eliminated. Prior to this decision North Carolina teachers were eligible for tenure after 5 years of teaching, which essentially meant principals had to prove “wrong-doing” in order to fire a teacher. Under the new system, top performers (as evaluated by the principal) will be awarded four year contracts and other teachers will be awarded either two year or one year contracts — in both cases the contracts will not be continuing contracts. To me, it seems like this will displace a lot of the necessary work administrators need to do to improve education to less important concerns like re-staffing a faculty that probably is doing fine.
- The state budget freezes teacher salaries for the 5th time in 6 years. In 2008, NC was ranked 25th in state averages for teacher salary. Clearly, the freezes are having a big effect on the salaries.
- The budget also reduces funding for teaching assistants. Let me get this straight: North Carolina is paying its teachers less, but also getting rid of its assistants? So essentially they will have to work more and work harder but receive less money? Joy.
- And the stipend paid to teachers earning Master’s degrees was eliminated. Of all the changes, this one might be the most absurd. I thought the goal was to educate kids the best way possible? Well the best way possible is through good teaching. Perhaps the best investment a state can make is the small stipend they pay to teachers earning a degree which makes them a better teacher!
One of the reasons I helped start this site was because I believe teachers are not properly compensated for the amount of work we do. In my own district, our salaries have also been repeatedly frozen over the last several years. In actuality, many of us make less than we did four years ago with salary freezes, the rise in taxes, and growing health insurance premiums. In fact, in North Carolina the average salary fell $1,407 from 2008 to 2013.
What are the North Carolina teachers doing?
They are WALKING OUT! And this is the way America should work. We have a diverse economy; we can find a different job. It is almost as if politicians think we are only capable of doing one thing!? Let them get rid of us and see where that leaves them.
And the entire world is looking for English speaking teachers. What is keeping someone in North Carolina?
What would you do if your state enacted such laws on you?