Minnesota No. 3 for teacher opportunities, in web site’s ranking, N.D. 38th
MOORHEAD, Minn. - Minnesota is the No. 3 state in the nation in the WalletHub website's recent rankings of the best and worst states for teachers. North Dakota, however, is 38th in the rankings, which aim to identify states that offer teachers th...
MOORHEAD, Minn. – Minnesota is the No. 3 state in the nation in the WalletHub website’s recent rankings of the best and worst states for teachers.
North Dakota, however, is 38th in the rankings, which aim to identify states that offer teachers the best opportunities in the U.S.
Topping the WalletHub list was Wyoming, with Pennsylvania at No. 2. Massachusetts was ranked fourth and Virginia fifth.
The lowest-ranked state in the list, which includes the District of Columbia, was North Carolina, followed in rising order by Mississippi, West Virginia, South Dakota and Hawaii.
Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, on Friday was happy to hear that Minnesota ranked so high, but said there is room for improvement.
“The overemphasis on testing versus learning is a conversation they (teachers) want to have,” Specht said.
“They aren’t afraid of accountability. Nobody is,” she said. “But let’s make sure our test scores are being used for the right reasons and let’s make sure we can focus on learning.”
Minnesota also has a fine blueprint for its teacher evaluation system, Specht said, but it needs more funding to be effective.
“If we can help our school districts build a system that’s going to help everybody get better,” that would be awesome, she said.
Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, which represents educators and public employees, said the state deserves a higher ranking than No. 38 from WalletHub, but he, too, said there are challenges to beat.
While teacher pay has improved in recent years, it is still in the bottom 20 percent in the nation. In the 2012-13 school year, North Dakota teachers earned an average of $47,344 per year, compared with the national average of $56,383.
Archuleta said teachers are leaving classrooms for better opportunities.
“Many spots didn’t get filled this year. Williston right up until the end didn’t have enough teachers,” Archuleta said.
Teachers realize their “talents transcend the classroom,” and are taking higher-paying jobs in the private sector, he said.
“Frankly, the pay just hasn’t kept pace,” Archuleta said.
Also, in western North Dakota where there is rapid growth in jobs due to the oil boom, schools are straining to handle the influx as parents bring their children to the state.
“Frankly, the facilities that these students are going to are just not large enough,” he said.
Archuleta said the Legislature put money aside in the last legislative session to help with school construction, but it was quickly used up, so more is needed.
“So, there’s work to do. I guess we’ll see what happens in this next legislative session,” Archuleta said.
WalletHub said it used 18 metrics in its analysis.
Key statistics include:
- Average starting salaries for teachers.
- Median annual salaries for teachers.
- Projected population of children ages 5 to 17 by 2013.
- Number of teachers per capita.
- Projected number of teachers by 2020.
- Pupil to teacher ratio.
- Public school spending per student.