As predicted, Republican promises to raise average teacher pay “over $50,000” fall short
RALEIGH — Every year, like clockwork, Republican lawmakers make big claims on teacher pay that inevitably fail to materialize — and this year is no different.
In 2014, Sen. Phil Berger claimed teachers were getting “the largest pay increase in history.” The claim turned out to be completely false, but that didn’t stop Republicans from repeating it ad nauseum during the election season.
In 2015, Berger touted a modest pay raise for teachers in his budget proposal — but conveniently forgot to mention that he would have paid for the increase by laying off 8,500 teacher assistants across the state.
In 2016, lawmakers once again made a big claim — saying their teacher pay plan would put the average teacher salary in North Carolina “over $50,000 per year.” Of course, they failed to mention that the $50,000 figure relied on local supplements provided by districts like Wake County, aimed at boosting the state’s abysmal salaries.
But now, it turns out that even when you disingenuously include local supplements, North Carolina’s average teacher salary still isn’t “over $50,000 per year” as Republicans promised. In fact, when you account for inflation, most teachers are making less than they would have before the Great Recession began.
“This is only the latest example of Republican lawmakers making big election-year claims about teacher pay that never live up to reality,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Politicians have a responsibility to restore public school funding and teacher pay to pre-recession levels now that the economy is improving, but instead they would rather give that money to big businesses and the wealthiest individuals in the form of reckless tax cuts. In short, they are robbing our public schools and our state’s future.”
So what bogus claims will politicians make about teacher pay this year? And more importantly, will anyone believe them this time?