Not a Cut and Dried Question

The average North Carolina teacher receives compensation (salary plus benefits such as healthcare and retirement benefits) of around $55,000 and according to the NCAE, which serves as a union representing teachers, it’s not nearly enough.


But like a lot of problems that look simple at first glance, the question of fair teachers’ pay isn’t as cut and dried as it seems. Here’s an example: Should teachers receive across the board pay raises – or merit pay raises?


Here’s a more nuanced example: According to the Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2010 the median household income in North Carolina dropped from $51,125 to $45,570. At the same time teachers’ compensation didn’t decline – in fact, it increased slightly. And, as a result, by 2010 the average teachers’ pay was 121% more than the median household income.


Teachers, of course, believe they are not receiving the compensation they deserve – but, on the other hand, over the past decade, compared to the average family, teachers fared relatively well.


Here’s another, harder question: It’s simple to say, Let’s raise teacher’s pay – but how do we pay for the raises? Is it fair to raise taxes when many families are watching their household income drop? That’s a pretty tough proposition – the answer to that question’s not cut and dried at all.

Leave a Reply