Greg Dragos: Rational pay for teachers

March 22, 2014 

Having taught in the Wake County Public School System for 27 years, I am well-versed in teachers not receiving their just due.

In 1976, as an N.C. State University senior, I earned $7,700 working approximately 30 hours a week at a Raleigh grocery store. My first year in the classroom, I earned $8,200 as a full-time social studies teacher.

The National Education Association has a report indicating that during the 10-year period from 2001 through 2011, North Carolina teachers were paid at a rate that decreased their wages after inflation by 16 percent. In this regard, our state ranked behind all states and the District of Columbia.

Our governor has just proposed raising beginning teacher pay to $35,000 per year. Based on inflation, that would just about get beginning North Carolina teachers back to what they earned at the start of the 21st century. And what of teachers with 10, 20 or more years of dedicated service to our Tar Heel state? What increase might they receive?

Let North Carolina teachers with four-year degrees earn starting salaries of no less than $40,000 and the top teacher pay be $80,000. It is clear to any rational thinker that the teachers of North Carolina deserve much better. Will they get it? On that the future depends.

Greg Dragos

Raleigh

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