World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on October 5, but teachers earn an average of $2,150 less per year than they did 10 years ago.
According to the personal finance website WalletHub, this figure is adjusted for inflation The best and worst states for teachers in 2022.
WalletHub analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 24 metrics, including teacher income growth potential, student-teacher ratios and whether the state has a digital learning plan.
New York is the top state for teachers with a score of 59.33, followed by Utah at 57.38, Virginia at 56.13, Florida at 55.92 and Washington at 55.71.
According to WalletHub, Virginia is 17 years oldthousand average starting salary for teachers adjusted for the cost of living and 25thousand on the average salary adjusted for the living wage. Virginia ranks 4th for the quality of its school systemthousand in the country and 26thousand with student-teacher ratios. The commonwealth ranks first when it comes to having a digital learning plan for teachers and the potential for teacher income growth. However, Virginia is 22 years oldth in public school spending per pupil.
The worst states for teachers are Hawaii, New Hampshire, D.C., Arizona and New Mexico.
WalletHub gathered expert commentary on the biggest challenges facing teachers in 2022.
“Teachers are facing many problems, including salary cuts. For example, according to an August 26, 2022 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the average weekly salary for teachers increased by just $29 adjusted for inflation between 1996 and 2021, compared to $445 for other college graduates in the same period.” said Christopher H. Tinken, editor of Record Kappa Delta Pi and professor at Seton Hall University. “Teachers can earn as little as 35 percent less than people with higher education in other professions.”
Rene S. Parmar, dean of the School of Education at Lehman College of the City University of New York, said teachers face three challenges.
“The first is a sense of disrespect for their professionalism. Educators are well-trained professionals who are committed to continuing to learn in order to best support their students. However, politicized forces constantly attack their authority in the classroom, trying to dictate the curriculum and learning activities,” said Parmar. “The trace of these attacks is that parents and children are being forced to disrespect teachers in their communities rather than supporting them. Second, schools in many districts lack the resources to provide a robust program that meets the needs of the whole child. School funding has always been a problem, but it is exacerbated in areas with a lower tax base, such as rural and high-poverty areas. Schools are cutting support staff on top of existing cuts in music, art, sport and other extracurricular activities that will improve learning for all children. Third, teacher pay must become competitive with the industry to retain and hire these highly qualified individuals, many of whom have advanced degrees and multiple specialized certifications.”
What do experts think about giving teachers performance-based compensation when their students meet or exceed expectations?
“Evidence from outside the U.S. shows that performance pay can improve student achievement,” said Dr. Gemma Zamara, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. “However, data from the US are more negative and show that outcomes can be strongly influenced by the specific design of programs. However, differential pay in understaffed schools and subjects can help address teacher shortages and improve student achievement. It’s not that we don’t have enough teachers in every district, in every school, in every subject. I think we need to develop more targeted policy solutions that prioritize the areas with the greatest need.”
According to Parmar, initiatives to reward teachers have not been successful in the past.
“Student outcomes are influenced by many factors outside of school. Moreover, it is not easy to attribute school consequences to one teacher. These and other limitations complicate statistical modeling to determine cause and effect. Additionally, there is no research on how differential compensation based on student test scores will affect overall school climate and long-term outcomes for all students in a school or district,” Parmar said.
Some American school districts are struggling to attract and retain the best teachers.
“They need to make sure they offer competitive wages and focus on providing the best working conditions with a supportive school environment,” Zamarro said. “We also need to find ways to increase the respect and prestige of the teaching profession.”
Parmar said community and school leaders must work to create an environment where teachers are respected and supported for their work.
“Salary is also important, but we see teachers leaving high-paying areas if the working conditions are not conducive or safe. All stakeholders must be involved in the effort to attract and retain excellent teachers. If local officials don’t respect them, parents and councils challenge their professionalism, the school environment is unsafe and poorly maintained, and the local media promotes negativity, teachers will leave,” Parmar said.