Teachers are the driving force behind our educational system. They prepare our children for the workforce, higher education, and life in general. The profession is widely considered one of the most essential and valuable services that contribute to the betterment of society.
A recent study conducted by WalletHub revealed that the states that pay their teachers the lowest salaries are Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Dakota. According to the report, these states rank in the bottom five for teacher pay compared to other professions.
While it is unclear why these states rank so low, one possible explanation is a lack of funding for education in these areas. Another possibility is a lower demand for teachers in these states, resulting in lower salaries.
This data highlights the importance of paying educators a fair wage, whatever the reason may be. Teaching is a challenging and vital profession, and it should be compensated accordingly. Many of these states are marked with more rural communities and likely a lower cost of living, but not all of the payment gaps are explained by those factors.
States That Pay Teachers the Lowest Salaries
In Missouri, the average salary for a teacher is $43,000. This is well below the national average of $58,000. The starting salary for a teacher in Missouri is just $32,000. This is also below the national average of $36,000. The state does not offer teachers any pension plan or retirement benefits. In addition, teachers are not given tenure in Missouri. As a result, teachers only earn an average of 67.8% of the salaries of other college graduates in the state, the seventh-worst ratio in the nation.
Average teacher salary: $47,849
9. New Mexico
According to the National Education Association, New Mexico earns just 66.2%, ranking as one of the states that pay teachers the lowest salaries. The average teacher salary in New Mexico is $44,992, which is well below the national average of $58,000. This low pay contributes to high turnover rates and a shortage of qualified teachers in the state. In addition to being one of the lowest-paying states for teachers, New Mexico also has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.
Nearly one-third of all residents live below the poverty line, and many students come from low-income families. This makes it difficult for schools to provide adequate resources and support for their students. Yet, despite these challenges, some dedicated educators in New Mexico are working hard to make a difference in their students’ lives.
Average teacher salary: $47,163
When it comes to the lowest-paying states for teachers, Louisiana ranks number one. According to the National Education Association, the average salary for a teacher in Louisiana is just $47,043. This is well below the national average of $58,353. There are several reasons why Louisiana pays its teachers such low salaries. For one, the state has been hit hard by budget cuts. In addition, many school districts in Louisiana are located in rural areas, where the cost of living is relatively low.
Despite these factors, many teachers in Louisiana are struggling to make ends meet. In fact, according to a recent survey by Tulane University, more than 60% of Louisiana teachers said they do not make enough money to cover their basic expenses. But WalletHub also ranks Louisiana schools as the worst in the nation.
Average teacher salary: $46,733
WalletHub also points out that for teachers in Utah, according to a report by the National Education Association, Utah is one of the states that pays its teachers the lowest salaries. The average salary for a Utah teacher is $44,672. This is significantly lower than the national average of $56,383. There are several reasons for this discrepancy. First, Utah is a right-to-work state, which means teachers can be fired without cause.
This makes it challenging to attract qualified teachers to the state. Additionally, Utah has one of the country’s lowest public education funding levels. This leads to smaller classrooms and fewer resources available to students. Teachers in Utah are fighting back against these low salaries. They have formed unions and launched campaigns to raise awareness about the issue. They are also calling on legislators to increase funding for education in the state.
Average teacher salary: $46,042
6. West Virginia
In West Virginia, the average salary for a teacher is $45,622. This is lower than all other states in the country. The state ranks 47th in terms of teacher pay. Many teachers in the state are forced to take on second jobs to make ends meet. The low pay rate has led to a teacher shortage in the state. In some areas, there are more open teaching positions than qualified candidates.
Average teacher salary: $45,977
The list of states that pay their teachers the lowest salaries are headed by Arizona, where the average salary for a public school teacher is only $42,647. However, according to the National Education Association, the average salary for a teacher in the United States is $58,353. The following two states are Oklahoma and Mississippi, where the average wages are $45,572 and $44,999.
Average teacher salary: $45,477
In Idaho, the average salary for a public school teacher is $42,826. This ranks Idaho as the state with the fifth-lowest average teacher salary. The conditions that pay their teachers the lowest wages are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kentucky, and South Dakota. While it is important to note that the cost of living varies significantly from state to state, these salaries are still far below what is needed to live comfortably in most country areas.
One reason for this may be that Idaho has one of the lowest union membership rates in the country. Only about 6% of all educators in Idaho are members of a union, compared to almost 33% nationwide. However, union representation can help to ensure that teachers are paid a livable wage and have access to benefits like healthcare and retirement plans.
Average teacher salary: $45,409
Teachers in Oklahoma are some of the lowest paid in the nation. According to a report from the National Education Association, the average teacher salary in Oklahoma is $45,276. This is well below the national average of $58,353.
Oklahoma is one of six states that pays teachers below the national average. The other states are South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, Idaho, and Mississippi. The average teacher salary in Oklahoma is lower than in all but two of the states in the nation.
Why does Oklahoma pay its teachers so little? One reason may be that the state has cut education funding more than any other state. In 2008, Oklahoma spent $2,023 per student on education. By 2013, that number had dropped to $1,517 per student – a decline of nearly 26%.
Average teacher salary: $44,921
According to a study done by the National Education Association, Mississippi is one of the states that pay their teachers the lowest salaries. On average, Mississippi teachers make about $42,000 per year. This is significantly lower than the national average of $58,000.
There are a few reasons for this discrepancy. For one, Mississippi is a poor state and doesn’t have as much money to spend on education as other states. Additionally, the state’s teacher unions are not as strong as those in other states, so teachers have less bargaining power for salary negotiations. Finally, many people in Mississippi believe that teaching is not a profession worth very much money.
Many Mississippi teachers are fighting for better pay and working conditions despite these factors. They recognize that their work is essential and deserve to be compensated fairly.
Average teacher salary: $42,744
1. South Dakota
South Dakota is one of the states that pay their teachers the lowest salaries. According to a study done by WalletHub, South Dakota ranks 47th out of all 50 states regarding teacher salaries. The average salary for a South Dakota teacher is just over $41,000 per year.
While South Dakota is not the worst state for teacher salaries, it is certainly near the bottom of the list. This can be frustrating for teachers who are already struggling to make ends meet. In addition, low teacher salaries can make it challenging to attract new teachers to the profession.
It is important to note that there are some areas of South Dakota where teacher salaries are higher than others. For example, in Sioux Falls, the average salary for a teacher is over $47,000 per year.
Average teacher salary: $42,025