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Best & Worst States for Teachers

Scholaroo ventures to discover the best and worst states for teachers across five factors — Career Accessibility, Salary & Compensation, Work Benefits, Work Environment, and Student Performance.

America’s education has been one of the most impacted industries since Covid-19 hit. And while teaching can be one of the most rewarding professions, we now know that our educators are underpaid and overworked. Scholaroo’s 2022’s Best & Worst States for Teachers Rankings set out to find out the most favorable states for teachers to be based in a post-pandemic world.

The data set considers a depth of topics across 42 relevant metrics across 5 key dimensions: Career Accessibility, Salary & Compensation, Work Benefits, Work Environment, and Student Performance.

Read on to know more about what we uncovered, the methodology through which we came to our findings, and additional insights that might just surprise you.

Rankings of Best & Worst States for Teachers

Category Breakdown

Methodology

In order to determine the best and worst states to be a teacher, Scholaroo compared the 50 states across five key dimensions:

  1. Career Accessibility
  2. Salary & Compensation
  3. Work Benefits
  4. Work Environment
  5. Student Performance

We evaluated those dimensions using 42 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weight. Each metric was graded on a 100 point scale, with a score of 100 being the max.

Finally, we determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.


Career Accessibility (15 points)

New Teacher Mentoring Program: Half Weight (1.50 points)

Note: This binary metric considers if the state requires induction and mentoring for teachers.

Performance Assessment Requirement: Half Weight (1.50 points)

Note: This metric considers if the state requires a performance assessment for new teachers.

Location Quotient: Regular Weight (3.00 points)

Note: This metric measures the concentration of jobs for postsecondary teachers.

Public School Enrollment Growth: Regular Weight (3.00 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage growth in 10 years of public school enrollment.

Basic Skill Test Requirement for New Teachers: Half Weight (1.50 points)

Note: This metric considers if the state requires a basic skill test for admission into teacher prep programs.

GPA Requirement for Admission into Prep Programs: Half Weight (1.50 points)

Note: This metric considers if the state requires GPA and its minimum for admission into teacher prep programs.

Job Availability: Regular Weight (3.00 points)

Note: This metric measures the teacher availability for teachers per capita.

Salary & Compensation (30 points)

Average Salaries: Double Weight (9.23 points)

Note: This metric measures the average teacher salary adjusted to the cost of living.

Average Starting Salaries: Regular Weight (4.62 points)

Note: This metric measures the average teacher salary adjusted to the cost of living.

Bonus for National Board Certification: Half Weight (2.31 points)

Note: This binary metric considers if the state provides additional pay to teachers who obtain the National Board Certification.

Educator Pay Gap: Regular Weight (4.62 points)

Note: This metric measures the educator pay gap of teachers compared to other professionals with the same education and years of experience.

10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries: Double Weight (9.23 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage change of salaries between the 2009-2010 and the 2020-2021 academic years.

Work Benefits (20 points)

Teacher Tenure: Double Weight (4.21 points)

Note: This metric measures the length of time before a teacher earns tenure.

Teacher Retirement Ratings: Double Weight (4.21 points)

Note: This metric measures the retirement plan ratings by Bellwether Education Partners.

Average Teacher Pension: Regular Weight (2.11 points)

Note: This metric measures the average teacher pension adjusted to the cost of living.

Teachers that qualify for a pension: Regular Weight (2.11 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers who qualify for a pension.

Social Security Participation: Half Weight (1.05 points)

Note: This binary metric considers if the state provides Social Security to retired teachers.

Portable Retirement Option: Half Weight (1.05 points)

Note: This binary metric considers if teachers have the ability to retain undiminished rights to retirement benefits when switching employers.

Teacher Contribution Rate: Regular Weight (2.11 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers' salaries that goes into the pension fund annually.

Employer Contribution Rate: Regular Weight (2.11 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of what the state, school district, or both pay annually to the pension fund.

Vesting Period: Half Weight (1.05 points)

Note: This metric measures the number of years before a teacher becomes eligible to receive a pension.

Work Environment (25 points)

Teacher Diversity: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers of color per state.

Diversity Teacher Encouragement: Half Weight (0.78 points)

Note: This binary metric considers the presence of prep programs to encourage diverse candidates into teacher preparation programs.

Planned Teacher Turnover: Double Weight (3.13 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers who plan to leave teaching.

Teacher/Student Ratio: Double Weight (3.13 points)

Note: This metric measures the teacher/student ratios in public elementary and secondary schools.

Per-Pupil Spending Growth: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage change of annual per-pupil spending (Public Elementary-Secondary System Finances) in 10 years.

Annual per-pupil spending: Double Weight (3.13 points)

Note: This metric measures the annual per-pupil spending in Public Elementary-Secondary School System Finances.

Student Behavior: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures bullying rates + the number of physical attacks (without a weapon) + weapon carrying rates.

Teachers with 3+ years of Experience: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers with 3 or more years of experience.

Teachers with 20+ years of Experience: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers with 20 or more years of experience.

Reported Cases of Covid-19: Half Weight (0.78 points)

Note: This metric measures the reported cases of Covid-19 in U.S schools.

Administrative Support: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers who find their school administration’s behavior towards staff is supportive and encouraging.

Classroom Autonomy: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers who report having control in their classroom in areas of planning and teaching.

Collegiality Within School: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers who agree they worry about the security of their job because of the performance of their students or school.

Testing-Related Job Insecurity: Regular Weight (1.56 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of teachers who find their school administration’s behavior towards staff is supportive and encouraging.

Student Performance (10 points)

High School Graduation Rate: Regular Weight (1.33 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of Public High School 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate.

High School Dropout Rate: Double Weight (2.67 points)

Note: This metric measures the percentage of high school dropouts among persons 16 to 24 years old (status dropout rate).

SAT Scores: Regular Weight (1.33 points)

Note: This metric measures the SAT mean scores of High School Seniors.

ACT Scores: Regular Weight (1.33 points)

Note: This metric measures the average ACT score (Composite score: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science scores) of Graduates.

Reading Test Scores: Regular Weight (1.33 points)

Note: This metric measures the Average Scale Scores between 4th and 8th Grade Reading scores.

Math Test Scores: Regular Weight (1.33 points)

Note: This metric measures the Average Scale Scores between 4th and 8th Grade Mathematics scores.

Student Safety: Regular Weight (0.67 points)

Note: This metric is based on the Student Safety ranking of Scholaroo’s “Best & Worst School Systems”.

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