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2016 List of Best and Worst States for Teachers Released; Do You Agree?

2016 List of Best and Worst States for Teachers Released; Do You Agree?

Personal finance company WalletHub has released its 2016 list of the best and worst states for teachers, which takes into account factors like salary, pupil-to-teacher ratios, spending per student and school system ranking.

Considering all factors, the company has ranked New Jersey as the best state for teachers and Hawaii as the worst.

Looking back to last year's ranking, New Jersey was included in the top five while Massachusetts held the title of best. West Virginia, on the other hand, was ranked the worst state although Hawaii didn’t even make the bottom five—indicating a dramatic change for the worse for the state’s teachers in just a year’s time. (Hawaii did make the news last school year for a crippling teacher shortage that resulted in its Department of Education appealing to the mainland for recruits). 

This year, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota and Wyoming made the top five while West Virginia, Arizona, Oregon and Mississippi rounded out the bottom five.

The annual ranking used 16 different metrics—up from 13 last year—to arrive at its findings. The metrics are divided into two categories: Job Opportunity and Competition and Academic and Work Environment.

For Job Opportunity and Competition, the ranking looked at in all 50 states and the District of Columbia:

  • both the average and the mean salaries for teachers
  • income growth potential
  • average teacher pensions
  • projected teacher demand
  • public-school enrollment growth
  • 10-year change in teacher salaries

For Academic and Work Environment, the ranking considered:

Source: WalletHub

Various experts in education weighed in on WalletHub’s findings this year to discuss the challenges that teachers face nationwide.

”If physicians had to work with groups of 20-25 patients at a time, it would reveal some of the challenges faced by teachers. A related challenge is the public’s willingness to pay salaries which would attract the kind of talent into the profession which other high paying sectors attract,” said Arnold Danzig, Professor and Director of the Educational Leadership Program at San Jose University to WalletHub.

The experts also had some advice for teachers entering the profession and where they should settle. 

”Find a school system that will increase the odds that you are successful in our first and second year of teaching . . . finding a school like this can get a beginning teacher off to a strong and long career. Pick a place where you enjoy living,” said Steve Graham, Mary Emily Warner Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.

”Pay, retention of teachers, expenditures per pupil, a sane State legislature and livability,” he says, are the top five indicators of how ideal a state is to work in for teachers.

Do you agree with your state's ranking? Take our survey below. 

See the full ranking here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor



Teachers: Do you agree with your state's ranking on WalletHub's Best/Worst list?

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