The personal finance website WalletHub Monday released its ranking of the most teacher-friendly states in the country. The Commonwealth of Virginia emerged a winner in WalletHub’s rankings, landing as the sixth-best state for teachers based on 24 teacher-friendliness indicators.
As WalletHub points out, 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. And this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to make teachers’ jobs even harder than usual.
Earlier in 2021, WalletHub continues, teachers in many schools across the U.S. had to provide online-only instruction to students or a hybrid of online and in-personal learning. Because of the difficulties of switching to this system, a massive number of students experienced significant learning loss. While schools are reopening this fall, teachers still have to contend with new variants of the disease and rising case levels
In some states, teachers are more fairly paid and better protected against the current pandemic 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 using what it considered to be key indicators of teacher-friendliness.
Some of the factors that helped determine Virginia’s high ranking (with the lower numbers indicated the better teacher-friendliness) were average starting salary for teachers (adjusted for cost of living): 17, quality of the school system: fourth; pupil-teacher ratio: 28; public school spending per student: 25; teachers’ income growth potential: 1; projected competition in year 2028: 11; 10-year change in teachers’ salaries: 7; existence of digital learning plan: 1.
The five states that WalletHub ranked more teacher friendly than Virginia in its survey were 1. New York 2. Utah 3. Washington 4. Pennsylvania 5. New Jersey.
The ten least teacher-friendly places in the United States, according to WalletHub, were 42. New Mexico 43. Louisiana 44. Hawaii 45. Missouri 46. Nevada 47. Montana 48. Arizona 49. Maine 50. District of Columbia 51. New Hampshire.