Watching and waiting

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced his intentions to give teachers an average 5-percent raise annually, which would push salaries to meet the national average in the next several years.

This is a familiar-sounding promise, as former Gov. Pat McCrory had similar intentions during his tenure. McCrory and lawmakers brought teacher raises to fruition, and now it’s Cooper’s turn to do the same.

The current average salary of teachers in North Carolina is just under $50,000. During the 2015-2016 school year, the national average was about $58,000, according to a report from The Associated Press.

Cooper’s plan sounds like a good one, but once again, it’s important for the public to be wary. Teachers will not receive a 5-percent raise across the board. An average raise means some teachers will receive more, others less, likely based upon their number of years teaching.

Cooper told the press that all teachers would receive at least a 3-percent raise, and he also spoke of a $150 stipend for classroom supplies. But until the numbers are crunched and the budget is in place, these figures can’t be confirmed as fact just yet.

McCrory did make good on his promise to push for teacher raises — although his scaled plan left veteran teachers in the dust with minimal raises. Now, it’s time to watch and wait to see what Cooper will do.

Republican or Democrat, all can agree that teachers should be of the utmost importance. They deserve proper compensation for the hard work they put in every day.

The hope is that Cooper will learn from McCrory’s tenure and not slight the longtime teachers this time around. Whether Cooper’s administration can strike a balance with pay scales is yet to be determined, but what is sure is that legislators have an important task ahead.

Don’t throw out empty promises. Teachers — all, not some — deserve to see more money in their pockets.