Greensboro, N.C. - Whether you're a construction worker, a banker or a teacher, most of us would like to earn more money. North Carolina teachers are ranked 46 out of 50 when it comes to average teacher salaries nationwide.
Over the past decade, teacher salaries around the country have dropped nearly three percent. However, in North Carolina, teacher salaries have dropped nearly sixteen percent. That's the biggest drop in the United States.
"We used to be toward the top in the nation. Clearly our college and university system is one of the best in the nation. I just don't get it. Everybody has been taught by a teacher. I don't understand why it's not a priority," Elizabeth Foster, Guilford County Association of Educators President, said.
Many teachers have not received an increase in their base salary in about five years. The state superintendent even suggested teachers stop paying income taxes to help boost their take-home pay a bit. Lawmakers rejected that idea almost immediately.
The latest research suggests our state is on track to dropping to the 48th worst state when it comes to teacher pay
"Imagine how many people are going to leave North Carolina just to go somewhere else and get higher pay and do the same thing we're doing here. We're here because we love the kids. And, of course, we want to make the world a better place. The only way is education," teacher Kellie Jackson said.
Foster added, "If we're not investing in education, there is a whole generation that is going to miss out. I have friends who have left the profession because they are done. They are done with all the politics that have gone into play."
Teachers can get a boost in pay by completing a national certification or getting a master's degree. However, lawmakers are debating whether to take away that extra money for teachers with advanced degrees.