Teacher salaries and the cost of living

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.

Comments

The cost of living argument

The cost of living argument seems to be mostly urban legend. We've had it used to justify paying us less here in North Carolina for years, across all professions. While property values / real estate prices may indeed be higher in many places, other factors, such as rent controls, gas or highway taxes, etc. often more than offset the difference.

Thanks for pointing this out. Good "ammunition".

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"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

What is wrong with you?

Why would you want to do research and deal in facts? The right-wing nut jobs want you to deal in hearsay and lies repeated enough times so that many people believe them.

How dare you deal in data! People like you will be the downfall of the tea party!

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014