by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Lady Liberty obtained and shared WalletHub source data for their “2015’s Best and Worst States for Teachers” ranking. As you may have heard from public school advocacy groups and the media, WalletHub youngster Richie Bernardo ranked North Carolina 50th in the nation for teachers.
The first six data points are used to determine the “Job Opportunity & Competition” portion. The next seven are used for the “Academic & Work Environment” portion. North Carolina ranked 50th on the former and 34th on the latter, which combined magically to produced an overall rank of 50 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. (The decision to compare states to a city is a curious one.)
But it is pretty apparent that North Carolina fares reasonably well on most indicators, considering that a number of recent efforts to raise teacher pay are not represented in the data used (because data collection understandably lags). The most interesting aspect of the ranking is that North Carolina earned a rank of 50 out of 51 despite that fact that only two of the 13 indicators come anywhere close to the bottom.
Simply put, Mr. Bernardo’s methodology, which is not explained in detail on the WalletHub website, produces rankings that are counterintuitive. Any cursory examination of the data itself would suggest that North Carolina ranks higher than 50th.
In other words, it “does not pass the smell test.”
|Average Starting Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living)||$31,894||40||2012-2013 & 2014||National Education Association|
|Median Annual Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living)||$49,516||39||2014||U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center|
|Teachers’ Income Growth Potential||1.38||31||2014||U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics|
|Projected Number of Teachers per 1,000 Students by Year 2022||N/A||N/A||2013||U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & CENSUS|
|Unemployment Rate||6.1%||26||2014||U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics|
|10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries||10.1%||49||2014-2015||National Education Association|
|WalletHub “School Systems” Ranking||N/A||21||2015||WalletHub|
|Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio||15.40||33||2012-2013||National Education Association|
|Safest Schools||13.4%||43||2011-2012||National Education Association|
|WalletHub “Underprivileged Children” Ranking||N/A||35||2015||WalletHub|
|Public School Spending per Student||$8,620||46||2014-15||National Education Association|
|Average Commute Time||23.7||24||2013||CENSUS|
|WalletHub “Working Moms” Ranking||N/A||43||2015||WalletHub|