The Dec. 4 letter “An $8,000 cut” accurately points out that if the average teacher salary in N.C. had merely kept up with inflation from 2000 to 2011, it would be $54,195 instead $45,947. He concluded that the average teacher had seen her salary diminish by $8,248 from 2000 to 2011. But that’s only part of the story.
In 2000, the average N.C. teacher earned $41,496. In the next decade, her salary increase averaged 0.93 percent each year while CPI increased about 2.46 percent. In 2001, her salary was about $633 less than inflation. In 2002, it was about $1,288 behind. If we add up these differences for the 11-year period, the average N.C. teacher lost $46,824 to inflation!
Ensuring that we continue to attract the high quality teachers our children deserve requires more than a one-time fix of a 1 or 2 percent salary increase in 2014. Increasing the average teacher salary to keep up with inflation until 2011 requires an 18 percent increase. While revenues will not make such an increase possible in 2014, legislators must take the long view and find ways to support our public school teachers for coming decades. The future for ourselves and our youth depends on it.