As this year closes out, perhaps it is time to think about how well you like your environment and if you intend to remain there as a teacher into retirement. Whether you decide to stay put or relocate, what are the factors in making your decision? Would you like to know which state is the best state for being a teacher?
According to an article from the Washington Post, citing the National Education Association’s recent report, Wyoming ranked number one, and North Carolina ranked last in terms of best states for teachers. The state scores were based on pay, student teacher ratios, and funds put towards education. However, there are various opinions, as many try to sort out the metrics behind ranking one state over another. Here are things you may want to consider.
Higher vs. Lower Cost of Living
Some say Washington and Texas ranked highest in 2014 as the best states to make a living, while Hawaii and New York ranked lowest, due to the high cost of living compared to its salaries. This is according to a Forbes article, which also factored in unemployment rates per state. Although some would say a lower cost of living may be a draw for living in places like the Southeast, keep in mind salaries are lower there as well.
Higher vs. Lower Crime Rates
Even with all of the uncertainty seemingly happening in all corners of the country, including violent crimes and scandals infiltrating the education system, teachers may still look into yearly reports on which states might be the safest. In this CNBC article, Tennessee ranked the worst for crime according to FBI statistics in 2012. Those at WalletHub agreed, but also ranked Nevada and Arkansas high on the list for most dangerous, while they ranked Massachusetts as one of the safest. Their metrics also included “safety” in regards to individuals’ financial stability, the workplace, roadway incidents, as they also noted New Hampshire and Minnesota as safer states in these regards.
Best vs. Worst Weather and Environmental Factors
According to an article from The Weather Channel, parts of the South ranked worst for environmental and weather issues. Topping the list were various counties in Mississippi and Louisiana, which ranked worse off than even parts of Alaska, or wildfire-prone states in the West, based on the number of costly hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters that have recently affected the region. Both the Weather Channel and WalletHub noted Vermont as their choice for safest and least likely to be affected by a natural disaster. It is worth noting that a variety of weather events have affected regions in unpredictable ways from the drought on the West Coast, which was then doused by heavy rain in recent weeks, causing potential mudslides, to extreme snow conditions in Western New York State where lake-effect snow is a familiar weather condition, but this year’s conditions near Buffalo were in excess and nearly paralyzed towns.
States Known for Retaining Their Teachers vs. States with High Attrition Rates
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of individuals heading into education is projected to grow, from their estimates in 2012 through 2022, but nearly half of all first-year teachers leave the field within their first five years of teaching, according to the The Hechinger Report, costing school districts across the United States billions of dollars in annual expenses.
In a most recent study for the Alliance of Excellent Education entitled “The Cost of Attrition by State” created by Richard M. Ingersoll, a professor of Education and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia had the highest number of teachers leaving the profession during 2008 and 2009 at over 15 percent, while Iowa had the lowest at slightly under four percent. The report, with information derived from the Schools Statistics and Staffing Survey, and its supplement, the Teacher Followup Survey, also noted that attrition cost Texas the most at an estimated $235,459,133 during that period.
You may be taking in these factors and opinions and considering how your area ranks in these regards. How does your cost of living, environment and safety affect you as a teacher? Tell us by commenting below and share your ideas and opinions with other educators following us at TeacherCents.
Melissa Heule, Freelance Writer