By Kris Nordstrom
Analyst, Education & Law Project
The How to Build an Economy that Works for All series aims to establish policy priorities and proposals that policymakers can advance and North Carolinians can support throughout the election season and the start of the legislative session in January.
Teachers are the most important classroom factor when it comes to improving student performance. Unfortunately, North Carolina has failed to ensure that teachers receive adequate pay and support. North Carolina’s average teacher pay ranking has fallen from 22nd in FY 03-04 to 41st in FY 15-16, and enrollment in teacher preparation programs is plummeting.
Other nations with successful school systems offer policymakers models for creating a competitive pay plan for North Carolina teachers. These countries have demonstrated that raising teacher pay to levels competitive with other professions can attract high-quality candidates to teaching, retain effective teachers in the classroom, improve outcomes for students. Competitive teacher pay is a necessary first step towards boosting student achievement, increasing lifelong earnings, and delivering widespread economic growth to North Carolinians.