Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WalletHub ranks Kansas 9th for Teachers

The following post presents research or analyses from outside KASB and is presented for information purposes. KASB neither endorses nor refutes the conclusions or recommendations contained herein.
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WalletHub is a site for “information consumers and small business owners need to make better financial decisions and save money.” Some may recall that Governor Brownback’s statement that Kansas’ Education System ranked 5th in the nation was based on its annual rankings (the 2015 version of this report ranks Kansas at number 12).  


WalletHub recently released a report entitled 2015’s Best and Worst States for Teachers, in which they ranked Kansas 9th in the nation. The rank is a combination of two others:  a “Job Opportunity and Competition” rank of 23 and an “Academic and Work Environment” rank of 7.  


The Job Opportunity and Competition rank is based on the following measures, and was weighted twice as much as the Academic and Work Environment rank:


  • Average Starting Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living)
  • Median Annual Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living)
  • Teachers’ Income Growth Potential
  • Projected Number of Teachers per 1,000 Students by Year 2022
  • Unemployment Rate
  • 10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries (measures change in constant dollars for teacher salaries between the 2003–2004 and the 2013–2014 academic years)


The Academic and Work Environment rank was based on the following measures:


  • WalletHub “School Systems” Ranking
  • Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio
  • Safest Schools (percentage of public-school teachers who reported that they were threatened with injury by a student from school during the previous 12 months)
  • WalletHub “Underprivileged Children” Ranking
  • Public School Spending per Student (measures annual state and local expenditures for K-12 public schools per capita)
  • Average Commute Time
  • WalletHub “Working Moms” Ranking


The report does not provide each state’s ranks on these measures, but it does note that Kansas ranked 3rd lowest for pupil-to-teacher ratios.  


The report also included several experts’ answers to the following questions:


  1. What are the biggest issues teachers face today?


Responses include evaluation based on student performance, condition of school facilities, the need for better training, and restrictions based on standardized testing and policy.


  1. How can local officials attract and retain the best teachers?


Responses include improving work conditions, housing assistance, ample class prep time, supportive mentorship, and provide an active role in decision making.


  1. What tips can you offer young teachers looking for a place to settle?


Responses include considering district stability, ask other teachers, and avoid states pushing charters and vouchers.


  1. Are unions beneficial to teachers? What about to students?


Responses to this included positive things like protecting rights, advocating for fair compensation, and negative things like making it difficult to remove ineffective teachers and preventing school leaders from making productive changes.

For more information, check out the report here.  

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