The Best and Worst States for Teacher Pay

The Best and Worst States for Teacher Pay
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Teachers do far more than simply instruct students on the material — counseling, social work, paying for supplies on their own — and now they’re responsible for the sanitation and safety of their classrooms during a pandemic. But is all that work reflected in how we pay teachers in the U.S.? dug into salary stats across the U.S. to see which states offer K–12 teachers the best and worst compensation compared with the average salary of full-time, year-round workers. We also looked at how much teacher pay has increased or decreased over the years.

For context: The national average for teacher salary is $61,730, which is 6.7% less than the national average salary for full-time, year-round workers. Average teacher salary fell 4.6% in the last 10 years; low pay is one of the leading causes of the worsening teacher shortage.

In compiling our list, we compared each state’s average K–12 teaching salary (pulled from the National Education Center’s 2018–2019 school year data) with its average salary for full-time, year-round employees (found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey).

We also included data on how each state’s teacher compensation has increased or decreased within the past 20 years (according to the National Education Center). However, this information was only included for additional insight and isn’t part of the rankings.

As you’ll see, not every state pays its teachers quite the same.

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