2019’s Best & Worst States for Teachers

Posted by: Adam McCann

Teaching can be a profoundly rewarding career, considering the critical role educators play in shaping young minds. But many teachers find themselves overworked and underpaid. Education jobs are among the lowest-paying occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree, and teacher salaries consistently fail to keep up with inflation. Meanwhile, the Every Student Succeeds Act demands growth in student performance.

This combination of job pressures, low pay and lack of mobility forces many teachers to quit soon after they start. According to the National Education Association, about a fifth of all public-school teachers leave their positions within three years. Nearly half last fewer than five. Many teachers, especially novices, transfer to other schools or abandon the profession altogether “as the result of feeling overwhelmed, ineffective, and unsupported,” according to ASCD, a nonprofit focused on improving the education community.

In some states, however, teachers are more fairly paid and treated than in others. Those states are less likely to face a revolving door of teacher turnover. To help America’s educators find the best opportunities and teaching environments, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 23 key indicators of teacher-friendliness. Our data set ranges from teachers’ income growth potential to pupil-teacher ratio to teacher safety. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.

  1. Main Findings
  2. Ask the Experts
  3. Methodology

Main Findings Embed on your website<iframe src="//d2e70e9yced57e.cloudfront.net/wallethub/embed/7159/geochart-teachers.html" width="556" height="347" frameBorder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> <div style="width:556px;font-size:12px;color:#888;">Source: <a href="https://ift.tt/2O6WAMY>

 

Best States for Teachers

Overall Rank (1 = Best)

State

Total Score

‘Opportunity & Competition’ Rank

‘Academic & Work Environment’ Rank

1North Dakota61.69113
2New Jersey60.15171
3Pennsylvania59.67210
4Wyoming56.98204
5Connecticut56.53322
6Illinois55.93616
7Minnesota55.61147
8Massachusetts55.49245
9Utah54.50822
10New York54.03256
11Delaware53.82239
12Oregon53.37434
13Kansas53.271818
14Kentucky53.111520
15Washington52.951917
16Idaho52.72928
17Alaska52.58145
18Iowa52.081227
19Vermont51.882614
20Virginia51.622125
21Ohio51.073415
22Maryland51.042919
23Indiana51.021630
24California50.81347
25Georgia50.651335
26Nebraska50.483024
27South Dakota50.422226
28North Carolina50.25543
29Montana50.183123
30Texas48.901044
31Wisconsin48.793921
32Mississippi48.32748
33Florida47.643332
34Rhode Island47.484112
35Arkansas47.463533
36Michigan46.942739
37Nevada46.413638
38Alabama46.132841
39Missouri45.924031
40Colorado45.49478
41Tennessee44.794329
42Maine44.724811
43District of Columbia43.494236
44South Carolina42.203849
45Oklahoma41.923750
46New Mexico41.074442
47West Virginia40.714537
48Louisiana37.874646
49Hawaii37.514940
50New Hampshire35.475113
51Arizona33.955051

Ask the Experts

Teachers must be able to make a reasonable living in order to meet the challenges of their profession. For more insight into the issues plaguing teachers and possible solutions for overcoming them, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in on with their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What are the biggest issues teachers face today?
  2. How can local officials attract and retain the best teachers?
  3. What tips can you offer young teachers looking for a place to settle?
  4. In evaluating the best states for teachers, what are the top five indicators?
  5. Do you think performance-based compensation (e.g., providing teachers a bonus when their students meet or exceed expectations) is a promising strategy for improving student outcomes?
  6. Are unions beneficial to teachers? What about to students?
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Methodology

In order to determine the teacher-friendliest states in the U.S., WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, “Opportunity & Competition” and “Academic & Work Environment.” Because competitive salaries and job security are integral to a well-balanced personal and professional life, we assigned a heavier weight to the first category.

We evaluated the two dimensions using 23 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for living and working as a teacher.

Finally, we determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Opportunity & Competition - Total Points: 70
  • Average Starting Salary for Teachers: Double Weight (~10.77 Points)Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living. State Cost of Living Index was estimated by averaging the indices of participating cities and metropolitan areas in that state.
  • Average Salary for Teachers: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living. State Cost of Living Index was estimated by averaging the indices of participating cities and metropolitan areas in that state.
  • Teachers’ Income Growth Potential: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)
  • 10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: This metric measures the change in current dollars for teacher salaries between the 2009–2010 and the 2018–2019 academic years.
  • Average Teacher Pension: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living. State Cost of Living Index was estimated by averaging the indices of participating cities and metropolitan areas in that state.
  • Share of New Teachers with Inadequate Pensions: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: This metric measures the share of new teachers who will not break even on their pensions. In other words, the amount of their future pension benefits will be less than the contributions they made to the state pension plan during their career.
  • Projected Teacher Competition in Year 2026: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: This metric measures the projected number of teachers per 1,000 students by year 2026.
  • Public-School Enrollment Growth: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: “Growth” was measured by comparing public-school enrollment in fall 2017 versus fall 2016.
  • Length of Time Before Tenure Kicks in: Double Weight (~10.77 Points)
  • Teacher Tenure Protections: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: This metric measures the strength of the state law, if any, protecting teachers’ tenure.
  • Share of Uncertified Teachers: Full Weight (~5.38 Points)Note: This metric measures the share of teachers who have not met state certification requirements. Teachers counted in this metric include those who are “teaching while still finishing their preparation, or teaching with an emergency-style credential,” according to the Learning Policy Institute.
Academic & Work Environment - Total Points: 30
  • Quality of School System: Triple Weight (~7.20 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “States with the Best & Worst School Systems” ranking.
  • Pupil-Teacher Ratio: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)
  • Public-School Spending per Student: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)Note: This metric measures the annual state and local expenditures for K–12 public schools per capita.
  • Presence of Annual Teacher-Evaluation Requirement: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)Note: This binary metric considers the presence or absence of an annual evaluation requirement for all teachers in the state.
  • Presence of Teacher-Effectiveness Requirement: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)Note: This binary metric considers the presence or absence of a state requirement for “objective student growth as part of teacher evaluation system,” as described by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
  • Projected Share of Teacher Turnover: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)Note: This metric measures the share of teachers “planning to leave the teaching profession as soon as possible or as soon as a more desirable job opportunity arises,” according to the Leaning Policy Institute.
  • Teacher Union Strength: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)Note: This metric is based on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s state-by-state comparison of U.S. teacher unions.
  • Teacher Safety: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)Note: This metric measures the percentage of public-school teachers who reported being threatened with injury by a student from school during the previous 12 months.
  • Share of Teachers Who Feel Supported by Their Administrator: Full Weight (~2.40 Points)This metric measures the share of teachers who strongly agree that their school administration’s behavior toward the staff is supportive and encouraging. LPI analysis of Public School Teacher File, 2016, from the Schools and Staffing Survey, National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Average Commute Time: Half Weight (~1.20 Points)
  • Prevalence of Childhood Disadvantage: Half Weight (~1.20 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “States with the Most Underprivileged Children” ranking.
  • Working Mom-Friendliness: Half Weight (~1.20 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst States for Working Moms” ranking.

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Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Education Association, National Center for Education Statistics, Council for Community and Economic Research, TeacherPensions.org, ProCon.org, National Council on Teacher Quality, Projections Central - State Occupational Projections, Learning Policy Institute, Education Commission of the States, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and WalletHub research.

Image: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com



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