NC Teacher Pay Raise All About Appearances

The NC budget proposal which was  sent to the governor Saturday has been touted as historical, and it claims to give teachers in the state their most impressive raise perhaps ever.

And the Republican penned budget also does come with much hand wringing over the price tag. The rhetoric speaks more to how teachers should be grateful and simply accept this generous token and shut up than lets reward good teachers for their hard work and continued service to the State. Instead its we have to cut this and cut that to give them this raise. We are to forget that most of what is coming out of Raleigh is inaccurate at best and a flat-out lie at worst.

The truth is that the proposed teacher pay raise is a farce and most of the raise is window dressing. The proposed 7 percent raise is being funded in part by teacher longevity pay given to teachers who have 10 or more years of experience in the state as teachers.

Longevity was designed to reward veteran teachers for their years of service. A modest 1.5 percent of a teacher’s annual salary wasn’t much and now under the budget it is gone.

That money no longer goes to the veteran teachers but will be spread out to support the state’s plan to try and up the average salary to help the state look better in the public eye. That is what this all boils down to anyway; appearances.

The state is also taking funds that are used to hire teacher assistants and using that to support the pay increase so really it’s not necessarily a raise but a reallocation of funds. Some money from the State Lottery is being diverted into the pot, but really as much money as the state makes off that you’d think the lottery could single-handedly fund teacher raises, but that might mean the lottery commission and the money you know the state skims from it for other things would be less.

Yes as a teacher I may receive more money next year but when I compare that to the teacher pay steps from about 7 years ago I’m still making less.

It is the current pay scale that is drawing the ire of teachers statewide especially veteran teachers. In an effort to bump up the average pay for beginning teachers the state has basically told veteran teachers they aren’t important.

A first year teacher will make as much as someone 4 and 5 years in and the most any veteran teacher can make is maxed out at $50,000.

Combine that with end to longevity, taking away Master’s pay continued lack of benefits and you are left asking yourself who wants to line up to work for a state that treats their teachers, especially their veteran teachers like this?

The answer is simply fewer and fewer will and the veteran teachers will leave. So in a way the longevity may not be a factor because no good veteran teacher is going to want to stay.

Yet the state senate is patting themselves on the back and expecting everyone to be happy. If this was such a great thing for teachers how come more teachers are speaking out in protest of this plan than supporting it? It’s probably because those teachers are smart enough to see the raise for what it really is; little more than a Bandaid on an amputated appendage.

The fact is by giving the teachers a “raise” it looks good. Its good PR and that is about it. We all know though that appearances can be deceiving.

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