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2020 NEA Report Displays Gap in Spending and Teacher Pay in North Carolina

The NEA has released the latest edition of its 2020 Rankings and Estimates, which show North Carolina continuing to lag behind in spending in teacher pay in North Carolina. Last year Real Facts NC reported that North Carolina ranked near the bottom nationally in per-pupil spending on average. According to 2018-2019 data, North Carolina is 40th in per-pupil spending, a rise in three slots from 2017-18 rankings, but a drop from 2018-19 estimates released last year. This increase is nothing to celebrate, however, as data show North Carolina still falls behind the national average in classroom spending and in teacher and staff spending.

North Carolina’s estimated average per-pupil spending for 2019-20 is still almost $3,000 less than the projected national average for 2019-20.

  • The estimated national average for per-pupil spending in 2019-20 is $13,384. The estimated average per-pupil spending in NC is $10,632.
  • The national average for per-pupil spending in 2018‒19 based on fall enrollment was $12,978. North Carolina’s per-pupil spending during this time was $10,165.
  • Nationally, per-pupil spending in fall enrollment is projected to increase to $13,384 in 2019‒20 an increase from 2018‒19’s spending of $12,978. 

North Carolina’s estimated average teacher salary for 2019-20 is still more than $9,000 less than the estimated national salary for 2019-2020.

  • The average classroom teacher salary for 2019‒20 is projected to increase from $62,304 to $63,645. Average teacher pay in NC is projected to increase to $54,682.
  • North Carolina’s average teacher pay from 2018-2019 was $53,940, more than $9,000 less than the national average of $62,304.
  • About Inflation: After inflation, the average classroom teacher salary decreased by an estimated 1.7 percent from 2010‒11 to 2019‒20, while the average salary for instructional staff declined by an estimated 0.7 percent.

North’s Carolina’s average instructional staff salary is projected to be more than $12,000 less than the national projected average for 2019-2020.

  • The average salary for instructional staff in 2019-20 NC is projected to be $54,682. The national average is projected to be $66,126 in 2019-20.
  • North Carolina’s average salary for instructional staff in 2018-2019 was $53,940, more than $10,000 below the national average of $64,545 in 2018-19.

More data, including a more thorough breakdown by percentage can be found in the 2020 Rankings and Estimates

The continued lag behind other states shows the NC General Assembly needs to stop piecemealing teacher raises and bonuses during election years, such as this year’s $1 per day “bonus.” Raising teacher and staff salaries to meet the national average is a starting point for investing in our public school system and providing the education our students need.