Pay teachers based on education level

"I will value teachers by a teacher pay policy that rewards experience and education that leads to improved student outcomes."


Roy Cooper campaign website


Another year goes by without NC teachers getting paid for having advanced degrees like they used to

When Gov. Roy Cooper submitted a budget proposal to the N.C. General Assembly this spring, he suggested restoring the automatic raises that public school teachers with advanced degrees used to earn in North Carolina.

State lawmakers didn't go for it. 

That all means that for the foreseeable future, teachers who go back to school to get a master's degree or doctorate won't be rewarded by the state for their efforts. And someone with those or other advanced degrees who becomes a teacher also won't earn any more than their colleagues with bachelor's degrees. That perk ended in 2014.

Cooper vetoed the budget – a purely symbolic measure, since the Republican-led General Assembly quickly overrode his veto – and said that part of the reason for his opposition was that he thought its spending priorities short-changed teachers.

As for the average salary of teachers overall, educators will get a raise next year – but not as big of one as Cooper wanted. We're tracking his promise to work with legislators on getting teacher pay to the national average in a separate Coop-O-Meter article.

Education experts believed North Carolina was the first state to ever do away with extra pay for advanced degrees, the Wall Street Journal reported after former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the cut into law. Teachers who were already receiving the extra pay were grandfathered in, but no one since then has been eligible for the extra pay.

Cooper highlighted his support for bringing back those raises during his contentious campaign against McCrory last fall.

"I will value teachers by a teacher pay policy that rewards experience and education that leads to improved student outcomes," he said.

However, Cooper's efforts this year fell short.

Democrats in both the Senate and the House introduced individual bills to bring back the raises. Both bills died in committee, without ever coming up for a vote. And neither the House nor the Senate's Republican budget writers included it in their spending proposals. 

We rate this promise Stalled.


North Carolina budget, 2017-2019

The News & Observer, June 28, 2017, "NC House overrides budget veto, making the spending plan law"

Roy Cooper's proposed budget for 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years

The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2013, "North Carolina Ends Pay Boosts for Teacher Master's Degrees"