Friday, March 8, 2013

Teacher pay sparks angst but no action

Emotions ran high when the N.C. Board of Education got a report on the state of teacher pay this week.

WCNC reporter Stuart Watson,  who covered the Raleigh meeting,  told me about a young teacher weeping as she talked about colleagues being forced to leave the profession to earn a living.  Board member John Tate of Charlotte was stewing as he drove home.

"We're just not treating our teachers right. We're going to lose them,"  Tate said shortly after the meeting closed.

Among the facts presented by Alexis Schauss,  director of school business for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

* Four years of frozen teacher pay means that 14,550 teachers  --  almost one in five  --  are now at the lowest pay level.  In 2008-09,  a teacher with five years' experience made $35,580 in base pay.   Today,  because experience-based  "steps"  were frozen during the recession,  five-year teachers make $31,220.

* North Carolina's teachers are falling ever further from the national average,  with the state currently ranked 46th.

* N.C.  teachers'  average pay has increased only 8.3 percent from 2002-13 to 2011-12.  All other Southeastern states have seen gains between 16 and 38 percent during those years.  Currently only West Virginia and Mississippi rank below North Carolina in the Southeast.

*It would cost about $420 million to restore the state's 95,000 teachers to the pay levels they should have reached during the frozen years.

Tate noted that not only are teachers getting pinched in the pocketbook,  but they're feeling the burden of jobs cut to save money. Tate voiced his frustration at the large number of young teachers who are being driven out,  not because they're failing to teach children but because they're failing to earn a living.

So what did the state board do?  Nothing.

"We could pass a resolution saying,  'We're screwing our teachers,'  "  said Tate, who has never been one to mince words.  "But the power of the purse string lies in the General Assembly."

Leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have voiced much the same frustration.  Superintendent Heath Morrison and several board members say they want to pay teachers more,  but the district gets its money from county,  federal and especially state government.

Decision-makers in Raleigh are talking about ways to revise teacher pay  (see the end of the presentation linked above).  They're talking about accountability and flexibility for local districts.  But a tax hike to boost teachers'  paychecks?  Not something I've heard.


Anonymous said...

Dear Raleigh,

When you are considering ways to screw me out of more money, please stop tell me and the world that you are doing me a favor by allowing pay for performance to be the way I get more money. That is the same as telling me it is raining when I can plainly see that you are urinating on my back.

The only message pay for performance gives me and my fellow teachers is "Don't let the door hit you in the bum on the way out."

Mr. Tate. Thank you for your concern. Now get me what I deserve and was promised when I started teaching in NC.

Anonymous said...

I loved my job, school, students,most parents, and co-workers. However, nothing has changed in the last thirty-five years. Multiple Part-time jobs after twenty plus years of teaching. A series of "moving on up" administrators, dysfunctional BOE's, and both political parties ignoring the future ensures the company surrounding NC........ Mississippi and West Virginia.
Teaching in NC? A honorable way to lose your financial future.

Ettolrahc said...

Nothing being done satisfies me anymore.

Signed the human condition.

Anonymous said...

But Foxx wanted a quick 200 million in new taxes for remodeling BOA that ended up a billion but luckily got rejected?

QB Newton confiscated 27 million in salary and endorsements in 2012 and they try to to make him a saint in this media outlet who had more smelly baggage than US air?

Unknown Panther defensive end Charles Johnson made 35 million salary alone in 2011?

New father Michael Jordan makes 60 million in endorsements annually and gets a free TW arena that costs 500 million to play his NBA team in owning 80% while Bob Johnson still owns 20%? Why not force Jordan and Johnson to buy TW arena?

Dont forget the price of gas and everything else rising thanks to pro sports tv cable bills going up twice annually now.

The list goes on and on ...

Sounds like the top priorities are all in order.

Meanwhile "peasant" teachers get nothing and while Obama just raised taxes on all middle class wages sneakily without warning in 2013.

Bend over. Its a total scam fleece racket in progress for taxpayers ...

Anonymous said...

Ann, One thing you forgot to mention was the outstanding pension and health care benefits that teachers get. These benefits help the older teachers at the expense of younger ones. So much of our tax money goes to the older teachers and the retirees that there isn't much left for younger ones entering the profession. NC already has one of the highest income taxes in the country.

Anonymous said...

Who are all of these victimized people that were forced into a profession without knowing what the pay is to begin with?

Anonymous said...

7:37, very, very few teachers make it to retirement. One in three make it five years! A short decade ago NC was at the nat. average but since uses the economy as an excuse to freeze or cut pay while shelling out millions in taxes for bogus projects like BOA stadium. McCrory, are you reading this?

Anonymous said...

Pay for performance? I've been performing well for the past 5 years and my salary has gone down! Not to mention how the freezes ( which are really regressions) have PERMANENTLY impacted what I had planned for when I retire. I've been faithful , worked hard, stayed with it, and jumped through all the hoops - no one cares. Never thought I'd see my profession so poorly treated. Only the kids keep me coming back...but not sure how long I can continue.

Anonymous said...

At 7:45.... we DID know what it was. It was taken away from us. The General Assembly broke their commitment to us - so wise up or hush up.

Anonymous said...

7:37 - one thing YOU forgot to mention is that teachers PAY into their retirement...and those of us who have not retired will be PERMANENTLY affected by the salary reductions - for the rest of lives. Is that how you want to treat the teachers of your state?

Shamash said...

From Huffington Post,


(perhaps just a BIT dismissive, but certainly a CLUE about the "problem"...)

1. Education. If you are an education major, congratulations!

Not only do you have the easiest major, but you and your classmates also have the lowest entering SAT scores.

All of my fiancé's roommates are education majors, and I'm constantly baffled at the elementary-school-like projects they're assigned.

While I busted my butt writing Advanced Synthetic Techniques lab reports and learning how to solve differential equations, they were coloring -- literally.

But teachers are always needed so you will most likely have a job when you graduate. Plus, you'll have lots of pretty drawings to put on your parent's fridge.


Well, there you have it folks.

This is definitely a part of the reason teaching isn't much respected as a "profession".

I remember thinking exactly the same thing when my HS sweetie's older sister was an Education major and I saw her construction paper projects.

Yes, I know there is more to "education" and there are some smart teachers out there, but I doubt that it's as difficult to get an education degree as it is to get nearly any engineering degree.

Which is WHY teachers don't get paid as much as other "professionals".

Sorry, but the truth hurts.


It does seem that they have a solution which makes sense.

They have done their best to recruit teachers from the top 1/3 of college students and do everything else they can to treat them like professionals once they become teachers.

And I think that this is something that has to be done all at once from the beginning of the "new" teachers careers.

They have to go into the career knowing that they were chosen from the best. And everyone else has to know this, too. And be willing to pay for it upfront.

The entire system has to change to make teaching "more respectable" before anything else of much value will happen.

And it won't start by just paying the graduates of the "easiest" college majors more money.

You have to get "better" students interested in education.

However, I seriously doubt that we have the political will to do this.

Anonymous said...

Health care benefits? Not that great. A teacher I know just got a knee replacement and had to pay 7k out of pocket. Premiums have gone through the roof. Insuring a family under the teacher's plan is nearly 1k a month. You must be thinking of the unionized states.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the pay of all classified staffs raised. Maintenance, Transportation, Drivers, Administrator Assistants, Engineers, Technicians, etc. We need a raise, please!

Shamash said...

Now, one thing that is missing in a lot of these studies of potential education majors is that a LOT of people who think they are going to be teachers do not become teachers.

And the people who do become teachers tend to be better academically than all the people who intend to become teachers.

That part is usually ignored by most people (esp. the media which usually likes the sensational headline).

However, the problem is still the perception (even if it is not completely accurate) that teaching is an "easy" profession.

Again, the whole system has to change, including who is accepted into education programs and even down to who even thinks they can become a teacher.

Until that happens, the profession will not get as much respect as it could.

Now, maybe that could be solved with a really good PR campaign from teachers, but I still think it will take an overhaul of the whole way we recruit and train teachers from the beginning.

It's a bit like quality control in manufacturing.

The reason so many people require so much "testing" of the product is that the production processes are flawed.

If you improve the production processes, then you don't need as much "testing" for quality.

That includes such things as "pay for performance".

Which is really just another way of testing for quality in a system where quality is constantly in question.

Anonymous said...

Tell me again about all this education lottery windfall that is going to "finally" show we care about education.........

BolynMcClung said...
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BolynMcClung said...
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BolynMcClung said...


Factoid of the day:



Couple of years ago I had a website,, that tracked some interesting items surrounding local education during the Great Recession. That site is still up but very dated.

On the site is the breakdown of full-time state employees. I’ve always been floored by the Corrections Department:

19,363 Employees.

27.6% of number of state employees (exclusive of teachers).

37,543 inmates as of last week. 1 employee per 2 inmates.

The next closest is transportation.

So you say I’m comparing Apples to Oranges. One group we’re trying to keep off the streets and the other just the opposite.

An interesting thought, though purely a coincidence; Apples have always represented teachers and Orange is the color of prison clothing.

Yes, an illogical comparison… too many ways.

Bolyn McClung

Jeff Wise said...

I always thought a business degree was one of the easiest majors. Most of those students skipped classes, cheated off each other and what not. The few business courses I took to fulfill requirements were content snoozers.

In my perfect world, each school would get a pool of money to pay the faculty. The administration chooses who makes what. The administration decides who's deserving of a 10% raise and who doesn't deserve a raise at all.

It's a free market of sorts for schools. Good administrations will attract good teachers. I wouldn't be surprised if student proficiency increased too.

Anonymous said...

Great excuse Bolyn for prisoners. If CMS did less wasting money on useless suits downtown could it pay teachers more? YES If CMS cut is useless PR department could it pay teachers more? YES If CMS changes the bell schedule to drop fuel and service costs could it save money for teachers pay? YES If CMS stopped doing surveys that are useless every 6 months at $100k a pop could they pay teachers more? YES
The blame on the budget is tired and old. What new source of revenue has the CMS board proposed to the county or state to pay teachers a living wage? NONE
They sit and complain , but bring no value to the table.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, its up to each teacher who is not satisifed with their salary to make a change for themselves.. Stop waiting for someone to do it for you. Lots of people like to complain and not do anything about it. Either go into a more profitable profession or take the necessary actions needed so your voice is heard.

Anonymous said...

I'm so tired of hearing teachers whine about the low pay. It's the equivalent of buying a house next to an airport then complaining about the noise. If you didn't know teaching was a low paying job before you CHOSE to accept it, then you are probably OVERPAID! On the other hand if teachers are so intelligent, hard working, and professional they should have no problem getting a job in a more lucrative field.

Anonymous said...

Here's another list of low paying careers from Forbes:

"Conversely, the worst-paying college majors are child and family studies, elementary education, social work, culinary arts, special education, recreation and leisure studies, religious studies, and athletic training."

Which begs the question of why "the coach" always seems to be highly paid.

Especially when you see how poorly the PE majors do on THEIR SAT's.

Anonymous said...

Thank you John for speaking up.
Thank you Ann for keeping the issue in front of your readers.

Anonymous said...

A relative of mine was a teacher in NC for 3 years...first job out of college. Then moved to a midwest state to follow family, and litterally makes 14K more a year and isnt in a massive inner city public school. Fact is, with all things the same, she will make 500K more over the next 25 years in the midwest, than in NC. I litterally dont understand why anyone would be a teacher in NC, let alone get a masters in NC to teach..crazy if you look at the bottom line. NC needs to clean up thier fiscal mess. I feel bad for you all...or should i say Ya'll.

Anonymous said...


one thing YOU forgot to mention is that teachers PAY into their retirement...and those of us who have not retired will be PERMANENTLY affected by the salary reductions - for the rest of lives. Is that how you want to treat the teachers of your state?

And what you fail to understand is that in the private sector, the same thing happens.

I pay into my retirement and if the company doesn't meet its objectives, no profit sharing, no raise and no bonus.

No bonus or raise in 3 years here, so tell me again why you are different?

By the way, I work about 80 days more per year than you do.

Anonymous said...

$35 to $40 is a decent wage - If you wanted to make 6 figures you should have choosen a different profession - many many public servants work in this wage range - it is the public sector and is known to be far less than industry - it was a choosen profession. If you leave "to make a living wage" maybe your lifestyle is more than it should be.

Anonymous said...


Your 2 to 1 ratio is misleading in that you're comparing ALL corrections personnel in that ratio, but only teachers to students and not adding in all the support staff in the student/teacher ratio.

Of the 19,300 corrections employees, how many are guards?

Anonymous said...


Following up -

North Carolina's prison system has more than 11,000 custody officer jobs located across North Carolina.

So that means 57% of corrections employees are officers.

Shamash said...

I think there is plenty of information out there for aspiring teachers to KNOW that they are unlikely to be paid well.

Just as there is for many other professions.

This should be no surprise.

It's also a matter of supply and demand.

The schools just produce too many people with education degrees.

That also drives down pay.

It's also a reason doctors and engineers make so much more money.

There is very tight controls on who becomes a doctor.

And engineering schools are notoriously tough.

With all the data that is out there on career choices...

It seems to me that ANY person considering their lifetime career options SHOULD NOT get an EDUCATION DEGREE.

Even if they want to teach.

Because they can always get that teaching certification another way.

Even if they switch careers, Education majors earn less than people with other majors, sometimes even less than those with no degrees.

Anonymous said...

This report doesn't bother me at all. You work 9 months a year. The rest of the world works 12 months. Average out what your pay would be if you worked those other 3 months like the rest of us. You get pensions and amazing benefits that the rest of us will never have. Quit complaining.

Shamash said...
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Shamash said...


When I was in college decades ago, business was also one of the easiest majors.

In fact, it was where almost all the "student" athletes were enrolled.

But that was a small "liberal arts" college.

I think the easiest major was Art (with sociology a close second) based on all the art student friends I had and their work ethic.

The Sociology department was mostly a front for the Communist Party as I recall (seriously, they actually sponsored CP meetings in the science building lecture rooms).

One Sociology major I knew did a project in which he and a lady friend hung out in gay bars for a few months observing the clientele.

One of their unofficial observations was that a lot of the school baseball team seemed to be doing that same "project" on their own dime.

I wouldn't say it was a party school, but for some students it appeared to be.

Magnolia73 said...

For those of you that think education degrees are easy, my mom got a masters and studied psychology, statistics and a host of other courses that required a lot of thought. She did also do craft projects via a course every summer to creatively decorate and get ideas for her classroom. This did not count towards her degree. She paid for the class to help make her room special for the kids.

Anonymous said...

The misinformation continues...."you work 9 months" false...." you get off at 3:00 each day " false...."education is easy" false.... "you have a cushy retirement and health benefits" what do you call cushy? The teacher-hatred continues....most of the hostile posts are either by people who still hate teachers who held them accountable in school, or they don't have kids and could care less about classroom quality. Some of you need anger management - or at least a dose of common sense compassion.

BolynMcClung said...


In order for the ratio of guards to prisoners to match teacher, there would only be 1900 jailers and 17000 other correction employees. That doesn't include all the people in the court systems.

The conclusion is obvious. We are running our schools and prisons with the same wisdom, and some would say, with the same results.

The point I was making had nothing to do with the money but with the poor judgement. It isn't likely the schools will be fixed any sooner than the the corrections department.

Why...?....because at least the politicians can say that their failsafe for not educating children is to have a place to house the uneducated adults that later drift into a life of crime.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...


For a second there I thought "poor judgement" was on the part of the inmates occupying a cell.

"Poor judgement" by parents raising their kids and "poor judgement" by students in the choices they make will always help retain a certain prison population.

Comparing prisons to schools is apples to oranges.

Anonymous said...

Are teachers paid too much? That depends on the teacher and his/her situation.

I left CMS after 15 years to work in another district. At my new school, I am supported, respected, have resources and work with great families and kids. I take orders from administrators who have meaningful classroom experience. Because of these factors, I actually feel I'm overpaid. Keep in mind, most of those commenting here attended schools like my current school which, understandably, shapes their opinion.

As for CMS, you couldn't pay me enough to come back. There was little admin support (disruptive kids were allowed back in the classroom), no time to teach (due to testing), little or no resources, and working against an agenda set by meddling foundations comprised of non-educators. I know people who make well over six figures and they wouldn't put up with that crap for a week.

If you ever hear a teacher complain about low pay, I guarantee they teach in a very difficult school with challenging students and little support. It upsets me when those who have never set foot in an urban classroom say "you knew what the pay was going to be when you decided to be a teacher." We were aware of the pay, but today's teachers are being held accountable for factors beyond our control.

Anonymous said...

What about the rest of the state employees? We are not teachers, but also deserve a descent raise. We have hard demanding jobs also and positions have been cut, which puts more work on others. The teachers were all getting good raises before they froze the paid. The rest of the state employees were not getting those raises either. We always got less than the teachers or nothing at all. Look at the whole picture, not just teachers!

Anonymous said...

As a teacher coaching a few sports the 45,000 annual pay is difficult at times to live on having to pay for a home and cars, kids, food insurance etc. Thankfully my wife has a double masters make 60,000 teaching advanced subjects as otherwise we would feel like we were in the poor house.

Even making in excess of 100,000 a year its tough but we both consider teaching a labor of love helping youth and contributing to the greater benefit of society. no other profession is more rewarding than teaching public school students.

Most all educators we know enjoy and love the teaching profession in spite of the lower pay and long hours but we need more money and pay raises.

Principals and low level administrators make up to 150,000 annually so maybe thats where we need to go.

Teaching is a great worthy satisfying profession and we love coaching too. Nothing any better than these professional positions in our opinion.

Anonymous said...

"you knew what the pay was going to be when you decided to be a teacher." We were aware of the pay, but today's teachers are being held accountable for factors beyond our control."

You knew the pay was low, and you found out the job isn't what you thought it was.

Stop whining and quit. The job is what it is. (looks like you already did)

As long as there are enough suckers to do the job as it is(factors out of your control and all), nothing will ever change.

dscienceguy said...


I am fed up with teachers and their hefty salary guides. What we need here is a little perspective. If I had my way, I'd pay these teachers myself.... I'd pay them babysitting wages. That's right... instead of paying these outrageous taxes, I'd give them $3.00 an hour out of my own pocket. And I'm only going to pay them for five hours, not coffee breaks. That would be $15.00 a day - each parent should pay $15.00 a day for these teachers to babysit their child. Even if they have more than one child, it's still a lot cheaper than private day care.

Now, how many children do they teach a day - maybe twenty? That's $15.00 x 20 = $300 a day. But, remember they only work 180 days a year!! I'm not going to pay them for all those vacations. $300 x 180 = $54,000. (Just a minute, I think my calculator needs batteries.)

I know now you teachers will say what about those who have ten years' experience and a Master's degree? Well, maybe (to be fair) they could get the minimum wage, and instead of just babysitting, they could read the kids a story. We can round that off to about $5.00 an hour, times five hours, times 20 children. That's $500 a day times 180 days. That's $90,000....HUH???? Wait a minute, let's get a little perspective here. Babysitting wages are too good for these teachers. Did anyone see a salary guide around here??

Only someone with a PhD and over 25 years of experience would make $90,000 a year as a teacher in the public schools (which includes the healthcare benefit).

Anonymous said...

The teacher pay system is retrograde. Let's say you've been teaching 20 or 25 years at CMS. Your salary could easily be $70 k for your 185 annual school days, with the promise of retirement in your 50s, with a nice pension. What a deal!

But if you are 23 and want to start teaching, you'll have to go in with a paltry $30k salary to help you pay off your student loans. Good luck with that.

How well you teach and how motivated you are is irrelevant to your pay in both of the scenarios just described.

Until this changes, I would not support increased taxes. Reform the teacher pay and benefits systems, so that it's more in line with the rest of the American working world. Then you can talk about tax hikes.

Anonymous said...

I was a teacher in CMS for 2 years and am one of the many who left the system. It is not only the pay but what kind of standards the CMS organization sets. It is a horrible feeeling to get paid terrible, teach kids in the 8th grade who read on a 3rd grade level and then to top it off- get no support from the pronciple. It was a clear sign to me to move on. Teachers have a choice- stand by and take it or do something. I am now working in sales in the finance industry, pull in well over average income and volunteer with kids on the side. Couldn't be happier i left CMS. Teaching however is an honorable profession and considerably harder than the job i have now.

With that, I get how teachers feel about their pay, but they have a choice. Speak with your feet.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the other poster. Teaching school is the greatest most rewarding profession on the planet.

These other jobless lazy self loathing toads who criticize being an educator are useless to society and obviously suffer extremely low self esteem.

Where can you get free health insurance for you and cheaply for your family while doing what you really enjoy doing best and that is watching students succeed in life being a part of it?

Sure you have the flukies or troublemaker dropouts and the pay could be better but there are plenty of other states in America that pay good teachers very hefty paychecks upwards to 125,000 annually. All states have common reciprocal agreements so you can move to California or New York and make extremely good wages doing what you like to do best.

What other profession can you give back what you have been given in the past but being an educator and the extra curricular activites associated with it?

Those who were blessed with the ability and raw talent to participate in the many high school or college sports have an even fuller platter and obligation to give back what was given and not being selfish or running low class scams to cheat.

We thoroughly enjoy and devour teaching as educators. We do not know a single teacher who does not deem this profession to be uncompromisingly a full rewarding lifetime career in spite not being able to become millionaires by owning your own business or other high level high pay jobs in larger cities.

Teachers pay always needs to improve especially in NC even if you have to weed out the DSS phonies and loafers and force them to get real jobs and stop mooching off taxpayers.
Teaching is a great life and like no other profession.

Shamash said...

Anon 10:51.

Don't shoot the messenger.

The story about the education profession is fairly consistent and widespread.

At least as far as the non-educational media is concerned.

You may claim it is not "easy", but that's the story that's out there, like it or not.

If it's incorrect, as you say, then someone is doing a rather poor job of Public Relations regarding the teaching profession.

Not that this isn't possible, but I also think there is just a bit of "slack" in the profession as well.

I think part of the PR problem teaching faces as a profession is that nearly EVERYONE has had a few really bad teachers in the course of their public education.

And sometimes we wonder (at least I do) if there STILL isn't some of that going on today.

Having said that, most of the teachers I have met have been just fine.

But that's in wealthy, white suburbia where all is happy and shiny (or so we're told)...

So, while it is possible that teachers today are all consummate professionals at the top of their games, it is not likely.

And since it is a government job (public schools), there is a growing skepticism/cynicism about anything that happens in schools today being more for "social engineering" than anything else.

Meanwhile, the band plays on.

Anon 11:09

As for "today's teachers are being held accountable for factors beyond our control"...

What can I say? Wasn't that obvious?

It's certainly THE MAIN reason I haven't decided to pursue a teaching career.

Trust me, I would love to.

I could teach a high demand area (mathematics) and have taught before in China where I really
enjoyed it.

I could even handle the lower pay.

But I'm sure I could not handle the "social" expectations of such a career choice in the US.

Also, tell me ANY CAREER today in which you are not held responsible for things beyond your control?

I'd take THAT job anyday...

Also, keep in mind that there are apparently plenty of education majors out there, so it's still a buyers market, economically speaking.

Anonymous said...

People think teaching is just merely babysitting. So let's have parents pay for their children to go to school. And we will really reduce the babysitting rate to $2.50 an hour. That is $2.50 an hour (Well below Minimium Wage)for 20 Students in a class and 8 hours a day. So 2.50 * 20 = $50 an hour per class of 20. So we have 8 hour days so 8*50= $400 a day. Kids are in school for what 180 days a year, now $400*180=$72000.00 a year. So I would say that teachers are vastly under paid for what they actually provide.

Anonymous said...

Just more excuses and politicians are not willing to pay teachers a fair wage. Base it on a 75k job and reduce it for the 9 months they work to offset a 12 month professional. I make in 1 month what a teacher makes in 9 and I think its terrible. Unless that teacher has a wife/husband with a real job can they have a median home/lifestyle which they deserve. I want them living in the community were they teach being a steward. ALot of principals can afford this I think teachers should have the same. They do get good retirement benefits , but boy I think they earn them. My hats off to CMS teachers I support their needs when ever I can.

Anonymous said...

$70,000.+ for elementary phys ed?

Shamash said...

Actually, the babysitting model probably makes more sense economically than what we are doing today.

The problem we have today is the babysitting bureaucracy that has grown around the actual job of teaching.

(It's a bit like GM was with automobiles back in the 1970's.)

Bureaucracy and infrastructure raises the costs substantially over hiring a group babysitter (or tutor).

And there seems to be few economies of scale.

In fact, the larger the school system, the more it seems to consume to produce less.

Maybe that's why so many people want to privatize schooling.

I personally would rather have public schools, but I don't think they are as effective as they could be.

Shamash said...

Anon 12:04.

If you do make in a month what teachers make in a 9-month year, then you are definitely in the top 1% of earners.

How do you feel about having taxes raised to pay teachers more?

Because that's probably the only way it will happen.

Would you want to go back to the higher taxes of earlier decades or not (say a 50%+ tax bracket for someone in your income level, or maybe a special tax just to pay teachers)?

And do you send your own kids to private or public schools?

Just curious since that seems like enough money to do pretty much what you wish compared to what an average teacher (or 99% of the rest of the population) earns.

I think most people below the 1% are feeling fairly tapped out regarding taxes, but I'm curious.

Because they are asking for more money, not necessarily our appreciation (which is a separate issue).

Anonymous said...

I have a B.A. in dance. Although my SAT scores weren't in the stratospheric range, they were above the national average. I was accepted at every college I applied to. I received a full tuition scholarship plus stipend at George Washington University where I received an M.A. from the School of Education and Human Development. My favorite teachers in high school were my PE teacher/coach, my dance teachers, my history teacher and my band director. I was never one to show up to school most days for the shear pleasure of taking Algebra and Chemistry. I showed up to school so I could see my PE teacher/coach (Mrs. Stump) after trying not to fall asleep in class during lessons about the Pythagorus Theorem. Specialty area teachers serve a valuable purpose. That's why we have them.


Anonymous said...

Responding to 9:33 not 9:39

Anonymous said...

From the NEA:

The U.S. average classroom teacher salary is estimated to be $56,383 for the 2012–13 school year. This amount represents an increase of 1.7 percent in current dollars over the revised figure of $55,418 in 2011–12.

North Carolina average is $47,924.


There is no question North Carolina should be paying teachers more, however, paying teachers more money will not equate to student perfomance. That is a totally separate issue.

Anonymous said...

A agree that teacher pay and student performance are two separate issues.

Back to 9:33:
Mrs. Stump was my PE teacher/coach in Jr. high and high school. In 1976, she founded our school system's first girl's soccer team. Prior to this, girls were REQUIRED to take Home Economics, were NOT allowed to take Industrial Arts (shop) but WERE given the opportunity to cheerlead. When the school board decided to give our newly formed girls soccer team the boys old soccer uniforms (while purchasing the boy's new soccer uniforms), Mrs. Stump and our team made an appearance at the next school board meeting to plead our case. The school board voted to buy us our own uniforms. It was this or a nice Title IX lawsuit.

Trust me, my PE teacher taught me a lot more then PE.

If your get a change, Pamela Grundy wrote a great book about the history of women's basketball. "Shattering the Glass".


Anonymous said...

I knew well in advance that I would never become rich as a teacher, but I never expected that I would have to work 3 jobs just to make ends meet. Now before someone says "well you shouldnt live above your means" I will let you know that I live in an apartment in an OK part of town and drive a car that is 10 years old. I am single so I have no dependents and I do not spend more than I need to on the necessities of life. In order to pay my bills I must work full time during the week and 20-25 hours on the weekends at my 2 part time jobs. Last year I worked 87 straight days without a day off between my 3 jobs. There is no reason that teachers should have to do this just to survive. I am lucky enough to have a Master's degree which gives me a slight increase over teachers who do not. The teachers who do not have this luxury struggle worse than I do. I have firsthand knowledge that NC operates on a pay scale that was put into place in the early 1990's. There has been no adjustment for inflation or cost of living since its development. Yeah a teacher making 40,000 in 1995 was great but it doesnt cut it in 2013. Until teachers start to make more and are valued as they should, teaching will be a profession that everyone will overlook because of the pay and our future generations will suffer. We need to take a hard look at to who is benefiting from the current system. There are principals in CMS that make 3 times what I do. I can promise you that they dont work nearly as hard as I do and wouldnt know what to do if they had to step into my classroom and take over. Too many people out of touch with today's educational system are making decisions about who gets paid and what gets funded or cut. Until NC allows teacher unions to give us a voice teachers will have to smile and take whatever they offer us because we dont have a choice.

Anonymous said...

Until NC allows teacher unions to give us a voice teachers will have to smile and take whatever they offer us because we dont have a choice.

I have yet to see North Carolina freeze over.

Anonymous said...

"Until NC allows teacher unions to give us a voice teachers will have to smile and take whatever they offer us because we don't have a choice."

You most certainly do have a choice.

I would like to pet dogs for a living, but I couldn't make ends meet doing that.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous: It is time for everyone to expereince of being a teacher and a teacher assistant in the classroom. Once this occurs then there will be changes. Having own children is an addage as well. Understanding the economic situations of all invovled then there will be a change. Since there are individuals not experiencing the classroom and or parenthood and the economics of both we will always have the haves versus the havenots. Education must have a voice just like our foreparents before us like MLK and Malcom X and President Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B Anthony and everyone whom I didn't mention to voice and we (educators) fight for a change instead of complaining. A solution must be made and when a solution is made and shut down another solution is to come into place. Honestly every one who is on the top of the later must remeber how they got there and implement a positvie way to assist those below them. What goes up must go down. We all must come together for a solution to enhance the betterment of education system regardless of socioeconomic stance. As mentioned before start from the top and work down to appropriately implement the finances are needed and kept."

Apparently this incoherent drivel was written by an "educator".

Yeah, we should give them a rasie

dscienceguy said...

"Apparently this incoherent drivel was written by an "educator".

Yeah, we should give them a rasie"

Noting the incorrect spelling and lack of punctuation of a critic. What has been your career?

Hopefully no one will go into teaching in the future, so no teachers will be available for any type of school including virtual schools. Hopefully all who are currently teaching at any type of school will stop including virtual school because anyone can do it. Administrators will find themselves still necessary though. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Teachers You Have a Choice :


Otherwise shut the Hell up and move on to another job that pays what you feel you deserve.

Anonymous said...

Please have the courtesy to use the correct words in posting, especially when identifying yourself as an educator:
sheer - not shear
principal - not principle

Think before you speak...and write.

Anonymous said...

9,000 Teachers not working on Monday would almost wake Morrison up to the plight of the teacher.

On second thought he would probably just hire another consultant and conduct another survey. Has this guy ever had an original idea?

Missouri said...

Before you read the following in the wrong light, let me put this out there first. There are many, many, many excellent teachers and principals in our classrooms and schools. However, it keeps feeling like they are successful in spite of what the CMS ivory tower does to them.

I have yet to hear a teacher or someone speaking for/as a teacher come up with a solution.

Here is what the legislature is stuck with. It inherited a mess of a budget between the many years of democrat legislatures and governors and the mess the federal government keeps putting on the "strings" of money it sends the state.

Second, the organization that speaks for teachers in this state has been an active adversary to Republicans in the history of this state. It, administrators, and teachers have yet to devise a system to purge public education of incompetent teachers. Is it because there are no incompetent teachers in their eyes?

Third, I believe the legislators would reinstate the pay scale but realize too little of the money for public education gets to the schoolhouse. The system is simply too top heavy. In years gone by, the number has fluctuated between 70% and 78%. Morrison seems to find all sorts of money for consultants, studies, etc. The legislature would probably like to pass a bill that requires 90% of the budget hit the schoolhouse level.

I think this is a case much like when TSA was federalized. Do you want to give 15% to 25% raises to the same people who with all the money the last dozen years or so, have generated little measurable progress in the students. I would think you'd want more of the top portions of graduating classes.

Anonymous said...

Why $70,000. for elementary PE? Because the payscale is messed up. More for STEM, less for PE. Match the market.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I got half way through reading these comments and just couldn't take it anymore . . .I am elementary school teacher in CMS in a title 1 school. (Look it up for you "non-education" people".) I have a family - husband and 2 kids. I chose to be a teacher - yes, I knew the pay was low and I would never become rich being a teacher. What noone told me is how disrespected and misunderstood I would feel being a teacher. Yes, I get summers "off". Do you know that I also attend trainings during this time? Do you know that most of the teachers return to set up their classroom earlier than the day they have to attend? Unpaid? Do you know that I regulary buy pencils, notebooks, and copy paper out of my own pocket for my classroom? Do you know I have 15 minutes to eat lunch and that this is my one and ONLY break the ENTIRE day? - I have meetings when the students are in music, art, etc. Do you know that I work on average a 60 hours a week and that I get NO compensation or even a "thank you"? Do you know that it is mandatory for me to attend any after school PTA event or it will effect my evaluation - unpaid? Do you know that I still greet my students with a smile every day? No! You do not because those of you who had the ignorance to make those comments have not a clue what it is like to do my job every day. I challenge all of you who think that teachers went into this field because we were not intelligent enough to do anything else or that we just wanted a slack job with our summers off to get in a school and volunteer. Look around and talk to the teachers. I am not asking to a professional athletes salary - All am I asking for is to be treated fairly. If I do my job well - I should have a salary increase. If I need materials for my class - provide them. I need to be treated like a professional and have a decent amount of time to eat my lunch and perhaps use the restroom.
If any of you have the guts to really see what this job is like - respond to this post and I will contact Ann to make it happen.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Go to Classroom Central and get supplies. You said you teach at a Title I school so I'm sure you qualify.

Policies & Eligibility

Who qualifies to shop at Classroom Central?

Full-time teachers, full-time teacher assistants (NEW), principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors, social workers, school psychologists, dean of students, CIS, BMT’s, ESL teachers, facilitators, lead secretaries, instructional coaches, media specialists, resource teachers, speech therapists/pathologists, full-time ASEP (NEW), AP, IF, SAC, SBS, and REACH.

Also, if you're buying supplies out of your pocket, that's your choice. I guess your school doesn't send out the request for tissues, pencils, paper, hand sanitizer, etc. etc.

You're not the only one who works after hours, weekends and holidays without "getting paid".

How about a person who spends 70 nights out of town (that's nights plus the days on either side traveling) away from their family, making the same salary as if they traveled 30 nights or 10?

Not every teacher spends their summers "training".

Welcome to the real world and thank you for your service.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

As a CMS teacher I have been asked to increase my productivity by almost 2x (38 students) while receiving less pay and a reduction / loss of benefits over the past 5 years.

Do you as a society believe it is time to increase my salary and benefits? I spend almost as much time with your child as you do as a parent. Do you want to retain a quality professional that spends this much time with your child?

Please pay me a professional living wage.

Anonymous said...

Attention: poser non-teachers wantabes or pretenders

The first website gives instructions in full on what is required to become a certified teacher in NC at the NCDOI in Raleigh and the qualifications, testing, exams, GPA, etc.

The second website is a localized university in the UNC system Education Dept to outline the requirements of each individual major or they have their own website to examine.

Te third website is the UNC system and its 17 schools who all have Education Depts and can be of help selecting a desirable school to attend providing the SAT or other tests are adequate for admission including high school academic grades.


Anonymous said...

I am a CMS teacher with 15 years experience in several schools – both private and public. I have never been highly paid – but until the last five years – I felt I was at least respected for the work I accomplished in the classroom. My students have always done well – often showing more than a year’s growth over the course of the school year. The following is my day:
6:30 – Enter classroom and set up for the day. 7:30 – 3:00 This is my teaching day –with 20 minutes to use the bathroom at lunch. If lunch monitors don’t show up – I eat with my kids and get not break.
3:00-6:00 – confer with fellow teachers for planning, develop lesson plans, grade papers, and use data to develop small group plans with differentiation. This day does not include PTA events. PTA events keep me at school until 8.
Things to consider: Students enter my classroom with not enough sleep, little interest in learning or respect for authority, and cannot get along with each other. I am responsible for keeping them completely engaged in learning for the 7 hours I am required to teach them. Students refuse to do work, steal or break items from the classroom, deface the bathrooms, throw tantrums, yell and argue with teachers. This is all conveniently overlooked when I am evaluated for my job. Instead – administrators look to see if I have written down everything I am going to say for every lesson I teach. I must include technology (even when it doesn’t work half of the time) in most lessons, differentiate by putting my kids in small groups for every lesson, and work with EVERY one of my students individually on a daily basis. Even though my district paid a testing company over two million dollars – I am still required to develop additional formative testing because the tests provided by this testing company have proven flawed – with spelling errors and inconsequential questions that provide data that is not useful or usable.
I regularly have to completely change my curriculum and teaching strategy to accommodate an unproven and untested idea of the week that some administrator with less than four year’s classroom experience has decided is the best way to get kids test scores higher. These ideas too often have little- or nothing – to do with what research considers best practice in how students actually learn.
AND – according to the NC teacher evaluation - I must show that I am an effective leader outside of the classroom, demonstrate that I am a leader among my peers by implementing and teaching my colleagues about new ideas, and I do enough outside professional development so that I am always being innovative in my teaching. (Please keep in mind that my teaching day – that part of the day where I am completely responsible for 24 children - is 7 ½ hours.) I put in 2280 hours in 10 months (it’s a myth that teachers work for 9 months. We are 10 month employees). Full time hours for a 12 month employee are 2080.
Did go into teaching for the pay or because I expected an easy job? No.
Do I expect to make a living and participate in a job with reasonable expectations where I am considered a professional? Yes.
Is this possible in the teaching profession in NC? NO.

Anonymous said...

Ann, please check the link to the BOE report at the start of your blog. I couldn't get it to work.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:56:

More for STEM less for PE??? This is why your kids are fat, sloppy and out of shape! Let them have a great mind for science but die of diabetes and heart attacks, good thinking Einstein!

Shamash said...

Anon 9:28 am:

I checked one of the websites to see what the average SAT scores were for entering Freshmen and this is what I found:

School Verbal Math Total

Appalachian State 572 581 1,153
East Carolina Unive 518 540 1,058
Elizabeth City State 421 435 856
Fayetteville State Un 423 437 860
NC A&T State Universit 445 462 907
North Carolina Central 428 438 866
NC State University 593 630 1,223
UNC Asheville 600 594 1,194
UNC - Chapel Hill 645 660 1,305
UNC Charlotte 524 550 1,074
UNC Greensboro 514 519 1,033
UNC Pembroke 460 473 933
UNC Wilmington 581 594 1,175
UNC School of the Arts 572 552 1,124
Western Carolina University 515 526 1,041
Winston-Salem State University 445 462 907
UNC Total 537 554 1,091


Altogether not that impressive.

Especially the ones with average scores below 1000.

Based on the above, it looks like a handful of schools are close to where I would hope that most teachers would be.

I would like to see a school system where ALL the teachers are in the same category as those accepted to UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Asheville, or NCSU.

Basically students who are in the top 1/3 of entering Freshmen overall.

I think that would do a lot to change the whole profession and perhaps, even, the pay.

At that point, I think you could justify much higher pay, more similar to what engineers earn.

But, still, this IS government work, so it pays what it pays, and there is no REAL competitive advantage to hiring and rewarding the best (except that the politics support it).

But, from what I see of the SAT scores, I would suggest that graduates of the tougher programs receive higher pay than the others.

FYI, that's the way the "real world" (outside most government jobs) works.

Employers first pay for the degree they desire and PAY MORE for degrees from better programs and better students from either lower programs or better programs.

But that's not government, that's private industry.

As for the "real world" I also think it's obvious that people who want more professional employment opportunities (and are capable) do not get education degrees.

And I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Unfortunately, you REALLY have to want to be a teacher to put up with all this (if you're smart and are aware of all your other options).

Which is one reason a lot of teachers leave, of course.

But, again, that's just the way things are.

Sorry if the profession isn't all you thought it would/could be.

But I thought most of this was common knowledge.

Shamash said...

I agree that we don't value teachers as much as we should.

I think they SHOULD be on a par with doctors and engineers.

Mainly because of the importance of their final product.

It's just as important as someone's health or the structural integrity of a bridge.

However, our society simply does not agree.

This is apparent from the low entrance standards at the education schools all the way to the way teachers are treated once they jump through the hoops to get into the profession.

But none of this is or should be a surprise.

It is what it is, though.

And I don't think there is going to be much change.

It's one of the reasons that many smart people do not choose teaching as a profession.

If they did, and it was acknowledged up front that this was what we really wanted and needed, then things would be a lot different.

But since that's not our reality...

It's also why I think people need to take more personal responsibility for the education of their children.

Anonymous said...

The assistant manager at McDonalds or ANY fast food service makes more than a year 1-10 teacher.

Why would you even go into the profession? CMS holds you to a higher standard of character within the community, but does not come close to paying you as a professional. All the while they spend millions on tests never used, surveys and consultants that do nothing but cause distrust. Why oh why would you work in that environment as well as the reduced wages and benefits?

Anonymous said...

This is 7:49 replying to 8:27 . . .
As far as supplies go . . .Title 1 means that the children I teach can not afford supplies. Yes, I can go to classroom central but if I do that I am not getting ready for the next day and it is 1 hour away from my home - I already spend enough time away from my family. The extra time away and gas is not worth a trip to classroom central when there is a nearby Wal-Mart. If CMS wanted to make classroom central more assessble by having several locations throughout the county, I would take advantage. However, they only give a very limited amount of paper and pencils - I would still have to supplement.

I am in the "real world" as you put it. Unfortunately in my world I can't even use the restroom when I need to. Our 15 minute lunch is too short to even get away from our work place. I don't even know of another job where that happens - oh, wait maybe in sweat shops in China. I would love to be in the traveling job you describe - at least I could probably use the restroom as needed and eat a 30 minute lunch - which would be a business expense write off. But wait . . . I would probably have to deal with ignorant adults like you - so no, thank you - kids are so much better to deal with daily! I'll just start wearing adult diapers and blend up my lunch so I can quickly drink it from a straw. Yup, that is so "real world"!

Jeff Wise said...

Clarification on Classroom Central.

They are an independent non-profit. CMS does not run it, in fact Classroom Central serves a number of area school districts in addition to CMS.

Having volunteered there a number of times, it's an extraordinarily well-run organization. Their location is probably not the most convenient for every teacher, but I believe they have a drive-through type option where you can order items ahead of time, show up and it's ready to go.

Anonymous said...

All 8:40 is doing is giving excuse after excuse.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:40pm.

You should probably resign.

Seriously. It's a big world.

No use being miserable.

Anonymous said...

It's me again - 9:58 and 11:58. Trust me I am actively working on it - as are most of my motivated colleagues. See I am intelligent and chose this career. I am so intelligent (my SAT score 1430) in fact that for the past 3 years I have been in college for a new career. I take one course a semester and double up in the summer. Just need 9 more hours to get through . . . I think I should mention that on my teacher evaluation I have accomplished in every area and distinguished in one area. I am an excellent teacher - highly requested by parents and a leader in my school - and I am leaving - for all you critics who would probably say well that person needs to leave because . . . . . let me set the record straight so there is no speculation. I am leaving beacuse of poor working conditions,lack of basic materials being supplied, lack of any promise of better pay, and most of all because of the disrespect for my occupation in this community and the state of North Carolina. The only thing I will miss are my students - notice they have absolutely nothing to do with the reasons stated.

I am just glad to know I only have one more child to get through high school - (we are putting him in private school by the way) NC public schools - especially CMS - are heading for serious issues. When you all realize this, sadly it will be too late.

Anonymous said...


As I said way back up yonder (yonder meaning "up there", since you wouldn't know what it meant since us poor common folk tend to use the word), welcome to the real world.

Good luck in your new career and I hope your child is successful in private school.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected - you are worth every penny.

Anonymous said...

The most inefficient and wasteful spending in State government is CMS and the BofE.

Cut out the waste and the frontline teacher that has the contact with the student could receive a professional wage.

Ann Doss Helms said...

11:39 a.m., that's frustrating; it worked when I checked it and now it doesn't work for me, either. Try this one:
Then click on item C/iii/b, "Teachers and other certified public school personnel salary," and that should take you to the presentation.

Anonymous said...

Why are White Men SOOOO Angry ?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:28.

It sounds like you're doing the right thing.

I know I wouldn't put up with it either.

Again, life is short.

Good luck with your new career.

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It is amazing to see the posts about how education is the “easiest” college degree to obtain. Along with how we do not deserve higher pay or respect because those who are not educators think our job is easy. I would like to see non-educators spend a month in the classroom. Then they would see the mountain of burdens we deal with daily. For starters they could enjoy our healthy monthly pay of $1,700. Use some of that $1,700 to buy paper, pencils, and notebooks for students whose parents can’t/don’t supply for them. Also, purchase ink (school should supply but doesn’t), computer paper (school should supply but doesn’t), pencil sharpeners, notebooks, etc. On top of worrying with PEPs, PDPs, IEPs, PLCs, faculty meetings, lesson planning, game duty, standardized testing, constant documentation of student work, behavior, and actions taken to maintain a safe, healthy, functional learning environment. Try to teach a classroom full of students with a wide variety of needs. You must accommodate and meet the needs of each student. For all you non-teachers----who in the world do you think got you to where you are in your life and who do you think will get your children to where they need to be in their educational career? I think people need to rethink how they perceive teachers. They are the ones who will be molding the future of American.