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How much (or little) teachers earn — state by state

Students arrive as classes resume on Wednesday in Charleston, W.Va. West Virginia’s teachers and students are reuniting in their classrooms after a walkout that closed schools statewide. State teachers celebrated on Tuesday after they won a 5 percent salary increase. (Robert Ray/AP)

How much do teachers earn — or, rather, how much money do teachers make in school as opposed to in the second jobs many take to pay their bills?

State-by-state data on teacher salaries is released by different agencies/organizations, and none of it is exactly the same, though the numbers are usually very close to each other.  That is why you may see one story saying that, for example, Oklahoma has the lowest teacher pay, and you may find another that says it is Arizona or South Dakota.

In West Virginia, where teachers just ended a nine-day strike for higher pay, the average salary of all K-12 teachers in 2016-17 was $45,701, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. It was $45,622, according to the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean (or average) salary in 2016 of $45,240 for West Virginia high school teachers, $44,420 for middle school teachers and $45,520 for elementary schoolteachers.

The NCES said that in 2016-17, the estimated average salary for K-12 teachers was $58,064; the National Education Association’s chart shows the average K-12 teacher earning was $58,353 in 2016-17.

Here are some charts that show state-by-state salaries for 2016-17.

The first one is from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics website, showing the estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state, during selected years from 1969-70 through 2016-17.

It also shows the percentage that salaries changed during that period, with some states seeing big drops in average salaries. Colorado, for example, which is having a serious teacher shortage, saw a 15 percent decline in average teachers salaries from 1969-2017, the chart shows.

Here are five charts from the National Education Association’s latest annual report on school statistics. The first shows the number of teachers in each state in 2016-17.

This NEA chart shows changes in the number of teachers in 2016-17 from the year before.

Here is an NEA chart with average teacher salaries in each state in 2016:

And here are estimated 2017 K-12 average teacher salaries:

Here is a chart showing the change in average teacher salaries from 2016 to 2017: