RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The average K-12 teacher in North Carolina made about $700 less last year.

The National Education Association said Tuesday that the average salary for a teacher in the state during the 2020-21 school year fell to $53,458 and ranks 38th nationally.

That average a year earlier here ranked 33rd at $54,150.

That current figure in the state is about $12,000 below the national average of $65,293, the NEA said.

North Carolina’s ranking is even lower for teachers who are just starting out.

The average starting salary of a teacher here ranks just 45th — a drop of two spots from last year’s rankings.

A starting teacher in North Carolina during the 2020-21 school year made an average of $37,127 — a total of $78 more than it was a year earlier.

That figure is also about $4,600 below the national average, the NEA said. The national figure is a 1.4 percent increase from the previous year — but it works out to a 4 percent drop when accounting for inflation, the NEA said.

NEA President Becky Pringle said when adjusted for inflation, salaries for starting teachers across the nation fell to their lowest level since the Great Recession in 2008.

“We have a long way to go,” Pringle said.