There is truth behind the numbers

Leslie Pate Guest columnist

This is in response to Catherine Truitt, senior education advisor to Gov. Pat McCrory. Her article “Gains in Teacher Pay Significant” is only partially true. I guess it all depends on who you ask.

As usual, Gov. McCrory is giving significant raises to new teachers while ignoring experienced teachers and hiding it all behind figures which state that the “average” teacher pay is more than $50,000. He must be using some of that common core math to calculate the average because teachers don’t hit $50,000 until year 25. Perhaps he’s including principals, district office personnel, and even superintendents who make that many times over.

I will actually lose money again. I am in year 24 and it will appear that I will receive a raise of $1,650 a year (a bit higher because I’m on the master’s pay scale). However, let’s remember that he took away our longevity pay. Mine would have been $1,716. Therefore, I will actually lose $660.

The public has been brainwashed into believing that all teachers are getting raises based on these “average” figures. People have actually asked me if I’m happy I’m getting a raise, so I end up trying to explain to them that I’m losing money.

I truly don’t understand why he took away educators’ longevity pay but every other state employee still gets it, including the legislators who voted to take away ours. Why did he discriminate against educators? It was part of the contracts we signed. In the real world, experience counts for something. In all other fields, experienced workers earn significantly more than new employees, yet he continues to give the largest raises to the newest teachers.

Why doesn’t he value our experience? Mrs. Truitt points out that from 2013 to 2017 teachers between zero and 30 years experience have received raises between 6.6 percent and 27 percent. Why would you want to give some (newer) 27 percent and some (experienced) 6.6 percent? Why wouldn’t you want to give everyone the same percentage? Are new teachers somehow more deserving than those of us who have proven we’ll stick with it?

Of course her percentages don’t take in account the loss of longevity beginning in year 10 at 1.5 percent and going up to 4.5 percent with 25 years of experience.

I also don’t understand why Mrs. Truitt justifies all of this by adding in our benefits. Yes, we do have good benefits, as do all employees who work for large corporations. One national company my husband worked for had even better benefits than we do.

I don’t understand why Gov. McCrory has done so many great things for North Carolina but he is destroying public education. I can’t vote for him again and most experienced teachers I know feel the same way. It reminds me of what the flight attendants tell you. You have to put on your own oxygen mask first so you can help your child. I have to worry about taking care of my family before I can worry about the rest of the state of N.C. He is taking money out of my pocket that I need to pay bills.

I hope he will reconsider the large group of educators he’s alienating. Here’s a link to the teacher salary scale

Leslie Pate is a White Lake resident.

Leslie Pate Guest columnist Pate Guest columnist