North Carolina ranks 46th in the US in teacher salary. We had a 15.7% average salary decline in the past decade. We pay our teachers $10,000 less than than the national average. A quality public school education depends on quality public school teachers; there's a mountain of research data pointing to the critical role our teachers play in student achievement. According to the Center for Public Education, “Having an effective teacher consistently rises to the top as the most important factor in learning—more so than student ethnicity or family income, school attended, or class size.” Experience, advanced degrees, and subject-specific certification are among many teacher credentials that contribute to student achievement. If we are not offering competitive salaries, it will be increasingly difficult for North Carolina to attract and retain these types of teachers. It is TIME to show your constituents and the citizens of North Carolina that education is just as important to you Governor, as it is to us.