The best and worst states for teachers: Study

·3-min read

Some states are a step ahead of others in creating a "teacher-friendly" environment, according to a new study by personal finance site WalletHub revealing the best and worst states for teachers.

WalletHub used 24 metrics to determine how "teacher-friendly" states are, said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. They include starting salary, average salary, income growth, and potential change in wages over time. Pensions, workforce competition, class size, school spending, and school system quality were also considered.

New York is currently the best state for teachers, according to the study. The Empire State received high marks on teacher salaries, digital learning plans, and accessible technology. However, teaching in New York was not without its downsides. The state did score lower in support from administration and public school enrollment growth. New York was followed by Utah, Washington, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

The five worst states/places for teachers based on the survey's criteria were New Hampshire, Washington D.C., Maine, Arizona, and Montana.

Made with Flourish
Made with Flourish

When it came to projected teacher turnover, Kentucky ranks best in the U.S. while Washington D.C. had the highest turnover rate. Massachusetts ranks number 1. when it comes to the best school system in the U.S, followed by Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire. The states with the worst ranking school systems were New Mexico, Louisiana, Arizona, Alaska, and Alabama.

“In Massachusetts, it’s tougher to get a teaching job and that’s why they didn’t rank as well in terms of opportunity and competition, because there’s a lot of teacher competition,” Gonzales tells Yahoo Finance. “A lot of people want to be teaching in Massachusetts and a lot of people stay teaching in Massachusetts. The academic and the work environment, it’s very hard to beat,” she said.

Other key findings:

  • Texas has the highest annual average starting salary for teachers (adjusted for cost of living), $46,073, which is 1.5 times higher than in Maine, the state with the lowest at $31,166.

  • New York has the highest average annual salary for public-school teachers (adjusted for cost of living), $77,867, which is 1.6 times higher than in Maine, the state with the lowest at $47,353.

  • Nevada has the lowest projected number of teachers per 1,000 students by 2028 (indicating the size of competition), 7, which is 14 times lower than in the District of Columbia, which has the highest at 98.

  • Vermont has the lowest pupil-teacher ratio, 10.83 — 2.2 times lower than in Arizona, the state with the highest at 23.56.

  • New York has the highest public-school spending per student, $27,656, which is 3.5 times higher than Idaho, the state with the lowest at $7,833.

Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist for Oxford Economics, tells Yahoo Finance that the education sector will continue to grow post-pandemic.

“State finances are not as badly hit as once feared. So that’s also a good sign in terms of the longevity of the demands for employment. I don’t think the budget situation is necessarily going to be a key source of restraint,” he said.

“New York is one of the states where there’s a lot of money going into education in terms of salaries adjusted for cost of living or in terms of overall spending," he said.

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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