While North Carolina's public schools have shown improvements in graduation rates and other indicators, teacher pay dropped to among the lowest in the country as the state struggled through the recession.
A report Wednesday to the state board of education says teacher pay in North Carolina ranks 46th in the country, above only Mississippi and West Virginia among the 12 southeastern states.
One out of nine teachers earn the lowest salary of about $31,000 because there are few meaningful raises until the fifth year on the job.
The report says public schools have lost more than 4,000 teachers within the first three years of their careers since 2008. Losing newcomers is especially a problem in North Carolina, which has a strategy of coaching up rookies rather than bringing in veteran teachers.