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#TBT: Mark Johnson again claims NC teachers are making plenty of money

Mark Johnson falsely claims teachers make more than other college grads in NC

State Superintendent Mark Johnson doubled-down Wednesday on his controversial teacher pay comments from early 2018 during an interview on a conservative talk radio show.

Last year Johnson faced criticism for claiming that the base starting teacher salary was “good money” for people in their 20s. For reference, Johnson, 35, makes $127,561, but if he were still on the teacher pay scale would be making just $38,000

Johnson repurposed his now-debunked talking point to again claim teachers in NC are making plenty of money.

“[average teacher pay] is also more than the median wage of a person in North Carolina with a four-year degree for a year. That means that the average teacher is making more than what these median households in North Carolina make, families are bringing home,”Johnson said Wednesday on Wilmington’s Big Talker.

This claim is blatantly false, especially his point about what families are actually “bringing home.”

The Economic Policy Institute recently compared the average weekly wages of teachers in each state with the weekly wages of all other workers with college degrees in that state. In North Carolina, teachers are paid 35.5 percent less than other college graduates. NC has the second highest discrepancy, falling behind only Arizona. (Note: See figure C in linked article).

Low teacher pay is a crisis in which the people who perform some of the most “thankless and transformative work” in the country remain severely underpaid and are often forced to work second jobs to keep the lights on each month. In fact, North Carolina has the highest rate of teachers taking second or third jobs outside the classroom in the nation.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Johnson continues to be flippant about teacher pay while citing bogus statistics instead of proposing real solutions. Instead of pushing for better pay, Johnson spends his time (and your tax dollars) running for office using glossy mailers and slick emails.

Teachers deserve to be paid for their labor in a way that dignifies and respects teaching as highly as any other profession. They deserve more from Johnson than the same tired talking points.