It is no secret that teachers are underpaid and under appreciated. Although they are responsible for the education of our children, the nationwide average for a teacher’s salary is about the same as a manager at a Starbucks, and they receive just as much grief from the people they are trying to help. Teachers bear the brunt of not only trouble from their students but also the parents as well, who often victimize teachers when their child is not doing well. There is some financial relief for teachers, however, in the five states in which the average teacher’s salary greatly exceeds the national average.
No. 5: Connecticut
Connecticut teachers are paid an average of $65,751, well above the national average. Not only that, but the teacher to student ratio is only 1:13, which gives students an excellent chance to receive the special care they need while they are in their twelve mandatory years of school. Unfortunately, not even this Top-5 state is in perfect shape, as teacher layoffs are looming on the horizon, and teacher tenure is being threatened.
No. 4: New Jersey
$66,985 is the average salary a teacher can expect in this New England State, where the average number of students per teacher is even lower than Connecticut’s at 11.8. This is even after a lot of salaries and funding were cut in 2010 by the New Jersey state government, who attempted to repair some of the damage by throwing in an extra $250 million the following year.
No. 3: California
The Golden State’s average is a good jump from Jersey’s at $69,434 a year. Teachers in California can expect a few hundred extra dollars a month, and can expect about 21 students for each teacher. Unfortunately, California’s financial troubles have been putting teachers’ jobs in jeopardy, as a lot of pink slips have gone out in the past few years. Still, their average exceeds the national average by nearly $25,000 a year, well above what most teachers in the US can expect.
No. 2: Massachusetts
New England has a third member on the Top 5 list for states who pay their teachers the best; in Massachusetts teachers can expect an average salary of $71,017. There are about 14 students per teacher in this state, and things are actually improving for educators and their entire education system. Four-year graduation rates are rising even though there are a lot of possible cuts to staffs in Boston.
No. 1: New York
Topping off the list is another New England state, New York, where teachers can expect an astonishing $72,708 per year on average. This state also have some of the lowest teacher to student ratios, at just about twelve students per teacher. There is some talk about teachers being changed to merit pay in New York, which means that teachers will be paid a certain amount based on their performance. This is a very unpopular notion, especially in the teachers’ unions, but good teachers have hope in New York, as they will be financially rewarded for their good work.
Unfortunately, teachers are not the best paid of our esteemed professionals in this country, but the day-to-day rewards of being a teacher, inspiring youngsters and helping them to graduate are far more fulfilling than the average job. It would be nice, though, if teachers were paid what they deserve. Teaching is obviously not a job to be considered for those who are mainly focused on the money, though these five states promise a highly adequate salary for anyone to live on.
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Ron Madden is a school administrator and guest author at Top Masters in Education, where he has contributed helpful resources for prospective students looking for online masters in education degree programs.