Report: N.H. ranks near bottom of states seen as good for teachers

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With World Teachers' Day coming up on Wednesday a report from the personal finance website WalletHub gives the state of New Hampshire a dismal report card. And nationwide, the study finds that teachers are making an average of $2,150 less per year than they did 10 years ago when adjusted for inflation. New Hampshire was ranked only above Hawaii, while Maine also came in poorly at No. 44.

In order to help educators find the best opportunities and teaching environments in the U.S., WalletHub analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 24 key metrics, ranging from teachers' income growth potential to the pupil-teacher ratio to whether the state has a digital learning plan.

Best States for Teachers Worst States for Teachers
1. New York 42. Nevada
2. Utah 43. Montana
3. Virginia 44. Maine
4. Florida 45. Louisiana
5. Washington 46. Missouri
6. New Jersey 47. New Mexico
7. Pennsylvania 48. Arizona
8. Massachusetts 49. District of Columbia
9. Maryland 50. New Hampshire
10. Connecticut 51. Hawaii

Best vs. Worst

  • Texas has the highest annual average starting salary for teachers (adjusted for cost of living), $46,113, which is 1.5 times higher than in Montana, the state with the lowest at $31,215.
  • New York has the highest average annual salary for public-school teachers (adjusted for cost of living), $80,286, which is 1.7 times higher than in Hawaii, the state with the lowest at $47,156.
  • Nevada has the lowest projected number of teachers per 1,000 students by the year 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, 10.34, which is 2.2 times lower than in Utah, the state with the highest at 22.63.
  • New York has the highest public-school spending per student, $29,897, which is 3.5 times higher than in Idaho, the state with the lowest at $8,662.

To view the full report and your state or the District's rank, please visit:

Expert Commentary

What are the biggest issues teachers face today?

"Teachers face myriad issues, including wage degradation. For example, according to an economic policy institute (EPI) report from august 26, 2022, average weekly teacher wages grew by just $29 when adjusted for inflation, between 1996-2021, compared to $445 for other college graduates over the same period. Dubbed the 'Teacher pay penalty,' teachers can make as little as 35% less than college-educated people in other professions."
Christopher H. Tienken, Ed.D. - Editor, Kappa Delta Pi Record; Professor, Seton Hall University

"Three issues stand out for me as I speak with teachers. First is a feeling of lack of respect for their professionalism. Educators are well-prepared professionals who are eager to continue learning in order to best support their students. However, politicized forces are constantly attacking their authority in the classroom by attempting to dictate curriculum and instructional activities...The trickle-down of these attacks is that parents and children are led to disrespect teachers in their communities rather than support them. Second, schools in many areas lack the resources to provide a robust program that addresses the needs of the whole child. School funding has always been an issue, but is exacerbated in areas with a lower tax base such as rural and high-poverty districts. Schools are cutting support staff, in addition to existing cuts in music, arts, sports, and other extracurricular that would enhance the learning experiences of all children. Third, teacher compensation must become competitive with the industry to retain and recruit these highly qualified individuals, many of whom hold advanced graduate degrees and several specialized certifications."
Rene S. Parmar - Dean, School of Education, Lehman College, City University of New York

Do you think performance-based compensation - e.g., providing teachers a bonus when their students meet or exceed expectations - is a promising strategy for improving student outcomes?

"Evidence from outside the US tends to find that performance pay can improve student achievement. However, evidence from the US is more negative and shows that results can be very much affected by the specific design of the programs. Differential pay for hard-to-staff schools or subjects, however, could help solve issues of teacher shortages and improve student outcomes. It is not the case that we have teacher shortages in every district, in every school, and in every subject. I think we should develop more targeted policy solutions that prioritize those areas with the greatest needs."
Gema Zamarro, Ph.D. - Professor; Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas

"There have been some initiatives in the past to provide bonuses to teachers, but these are not very successful. Student outcomes are affected by many factors outside of school. Further, it is not easy to attribute school-based effects to a single teacher. These and other constraints make statistical modeling difficult in order to determine cause and effect. In addition, there is no research on how differential compensation based on student test performance would impact the overall school climate and long-term outcomes for all students in a school or district."
Rene S. Parmar - Dean, School of Education, Lehman College, City University of New York

How can local officials attract and retain the best teachers?

"They should make sure they offer competitive salaries and focus on providing better working conditions with a supportive school environment. We also need to find ways to increase the respect and prestige of the teaching profession."
Gema Zamarro, Ph.D. - Professor; Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas

"Leaders in the community and schools must work to create an environment of respect for teachers and support for their work. Salary is important as well, but we see teachers leaving high-paying districts when the working conditions are not supportive or safe. All stakeholders must participate in the work of attracting and retaining great teachers. If local officials disrespect them, parents and Boards challenge their professionalism, the environment around schools is unsafe and poorly maintained, and the local media promotes negativity, teachers will leave."
Rene S. Parmar - Dean, School of Education, Lehman College, City University of New York

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