Today, Governor Roy Cooper visited Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School in Charlotte to emphasize the dangerous impacts of extreme legislation proposed by Republican legislators that would worsen North Carolina’s teaching shortage and provide veteran teachers with only $250 in salary increases spread over two years.
“Republican legislators will make North Carolina’s teacher shortage worse with insultingly low salary increases for teachers who work hard every day to help students grow and succeed,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Our teachers deserve to be paid like the professionals they are and we can’t let the legislature continue to drive qualified educators out of the profession and dismantle public education.”
Legislative Republicans proposed paltry salary increases for teachers that would worsen the teacher shortage. North Carolina already faces more than 5,000 teacher vacancies, leaving tens of thousands of students without a qualified educator and putting their success at extreme risk. Recruiting and retaining quality teachers is harder than ever and low pay is a significant reason why.
North Carolina ranks 32nd nationally in average teacher pay. Additionally, North Carolina ranks 46th nationally and 11th in the Southeast in beginning teacher pay. Neighboring states have passed North Carolina in teacher pay, causing teachers to leave for other states and higher-paying jobs.
While Governor Cooper proposed an 18% pay raise over two years for teachers, Senate Republicans proposed increasing veteran teachers’ salaries by only $250 spread over two years. House leaders are proposing an average teacher salary increase of 10% over two years – an increase that barely matches inflation.
In addition to siphoning money out of public schools, Republicans are also proposing large tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations that will reduce total state funding by almost 20% and cause long-term cuts to the classroom.
In a special address earlier this week, Governor Cooper outlined sweeping legislation in the NC General Assembly that would choke the life out of public education. These extreme bills would cause public schools to lose hundreds of millions of dollars through the expansion of private school vouchers, exacerbate the state’s teacher shortage and bring political culture wars into the classrooms.
The Governor is calling on North Carolinians to visit governor.nc.gov to learn more and contact their legislators to ask them to protect public schools.
Watch the Governor’s address.
Read the Governor’s full remarks.
Learn more about North Carolina’s public education emergency.