RALEIGH, NC—Think NC First (Think) and the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) today released a report presenting a series of principles and policy recommendations made by a collaborative group of North Carolina teachers. The report, Transforming teachers’ careers and compensations in North Carolina: A new vision from some of our state’s best teachers, provides a starting place for a meaningful discussion of teacher pay in our state.

The recommendations outlined in the report include:

  • Establishing professional base pay;
  • Rewarding a variety of expert skills, based on a well-designed and more comprehensive teaching evaluation system; and
  • Creating leadership pathways (both formal and informal roles) for all teachers.

“The keys to designing an effective teacher development and pay system will be the concepts of customization, flexibility, and a myriad of growth options—not ‘one-size-fits-all’ pathways,” said Ben Owens, teacher in Murphy, NC and member of the study. “Any teacher, regardless of background or experience, can be a leader and make positive changes outside his or her classroom.” 

This summer, the North Carolina General Assembly approved a budget increasing the average annual teacher salary to more than $50,000. While the increase is acknowledged as a move in the right direction, there is still a long way to go. Moreover, teachers continue to be subjected to a yearly political fight over pay increases. Instead of being political chess pieces, teachers should have a seat at the table in designing a more effective compensation system.

The framework presented in this paper serves as a potential starting point for educators and policymakers to work together to benefit students in the long run and bridge the communication gap between makers of school policy and teaching professionals. 

“Our vision is for the state to create and update funding streams to assist districts in paying for teachers filling various formal and informal leadership roles,” writes teacher Nicole Smith of Mooresville, NC.