I often hear from the right that teacher salary ranking is an inaccurate measure because it fails to take into account the differences in cost of living. It is something often repeated by the talking heads from the various Art Pope organizations.
I was having a conversation with two fellow teachers that are transplants, one from Delaware and the other from Maryland. Both of these guys are strong GOP backers so our conversations are always interesting to say the least. (The liberal teacher stereotype is extremely inaccurate.) Both of them insisted that not only was teacher pay much, much better in their home states, but the cost of living was not higher.
I was shocked because I always assumed that NC did have a noticeably lower cost of living than the northern and western states. I visited http://www.townhunter.com/townhunter/cost-of-living-calculator.aspx ... where I used Raleigh and $50k for comparison with similar cities around the country. The number for the other cities is the salary that a person would have to earn there to enjoy the same standard of living.
Raleigh $50k is equal to Anaheim Ca. $49k, Eugene OR $39k, Trenton NJ $37.5K, St Paul Mn. $41.5K, Pittsburgh Pa. $36k, Providence RI $43k, Wilmington Del. $37.5, Atlanta Ga. $39k, Columbia SC $33k, Bridgeport CT $46.5k
I am well aware that the cost of living in Raleigh is higher than that in say, Sanford, Mars Hill, Eden or Wallace, but I would think that there would be similar differences in small towns in each of the other states as well.