The WalletHub Web site looked at data to determine the states that they call the “teacher friendliest states in the country.”

The data used to come up with the rankings include (see entire methodology below) average starting salaries, median annual salaries, number of teacher per capita, unemployment rates and much more. It also included data from other WalletHub rankings, including one purportedly ranking the “best and worst school systems” based in part on standardized test scores (which really tell us far less than commonly believed) and other data points that are open to interpretation, such as instances of bullying (which are handled differently in different schools).

In the new “teacher friendly” rankings, here’s what’s not included: information on whether states have preserved job protections for teachers, or whether teachers are fairly evaluated, or whether under-prepared Teach For America corps members are replacing veteran teachers, or  the overall impact of corporate-based school reform on the teaching profession.

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So are these rankings really showing the “teacher-friendliest” states?  Not so much.

Here’s the WalletHub map and rankings:

WalletHub

Overall Rank State Opportunity & Competition Rank Academic & Work Environment Rank
1 Wyoming 9 7
2 Pennsylvania 6 13
3 Minnesota 5 15
4 Massachusetts 10 10
5 Virginia 2 27
6 Wisconsin 8 18
7 New York 15 11
8 Ohio 11 16
9 Utah 1 43
10 Iowa 18 12
11 New Jersey 31 2
12 Idaho 3 38
13 Alaska 13 23
14 Nebraska 27 7
15 Michigan 4 36
16 Kansas 30 4
17 Indiana 7 35
18 Vermont 42 1
19 Maryland 20 22
20 District of Columbia 25 17
21 Rhode Island 35 5
22 Illinois 19 28
23 Montana 24 20
24 Oregon 21 29
25 Connecticut 40 3
26 Louisiana 14 40
27 New Hampshire 42 6
28 New Mexico 23 30
29 Texas 29 24
30 Washington 22 32
31 Alabama 17 41
32 California 12 48
33 Georgia 26 33
34 Missouri 33 26
35 Delaware 34 25
36 Nevada 16 51
37 Arkansas 40 21
38 North Dakota 46 9
39 Oklahoma 32 39
40 Colorado 39 31
41 Tennessee 36 34
42 Kentucky 28 45
43 Maine 48 14
44 Florida 38 41
45 South Carolina 44 43
46 Arizona 37 47
47 Hawaii 45 48
48 South Dakota 51 19
49 West Virginia 49 37
50 Mississippi 47 50
51 North Carolina 50 46

Here’s how the rankings were completed:

WalletHub analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, including “opportunity and competition” and “work environment.” Because competitive salaries and job security are integral to a well-balanced personal and professional life, we assigned a heavier weight to the “opportunity and competition” category. We then identified 18 metrics that are relevant to the two dimensions. The set is listed below.
  • Pupil to Teacher Ratio: Full Weight

  • Safest Schools: Half Weight

  • States with the Best and Worst School Systems Ranking (a WalletHub report): Full Weight

  • Best and Worst States for Underprivileged Children Ranking (a WalletHub report): Half Weight

  • Public School Spending per Student (measures annual state and local expenditures for K-12 public schools per student): Full Weight

  • Average Commute Time: Half Weight

  • Average Work Hours for Teachers: Half Weight

  • Best and Worst States for Working Moms Ranking (a WalletHub report): Half Weight

Source: Data used to create these rankings is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Education Association, the National Center for Educational Statistics, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, CareerOneStop, Indeed.com and WalletHub Research.

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