While it seems some Alabama legislative “leaders” are quick to blame everything from dead possums in the middle of the road to ingrown toenails as the fault of educators, when a site called WallteHub annually ranks states as to which ones are the worst in which to teach, no one in the statehouse ever mentions such info.
WalletHub ranked states depending on how they scored in two categories:
“Opportunity and competition,” which includes how competitive salaries were, teacher pensions, and income growth.
“Academic and work environment,” which includes the quality of the school system, how many students per teacher, and the rate of turnover.
It comes as little surprise to me that Alabama made the list of “15 worst”. To be exact, we are ranked at No. 38. Arizona, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Louisiana, West Virginia, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Maine, Tennessee, Colorado and Missouri are considered worst than Alabama.
The best 15 states for teachers are: 1) North Dakota, 2) New Jersey, 3) Pennsylvania, 4) Wyoming, 5) Connecticut, 6) Illinois, 7) Minnesota, 8) Massachusetts, 9) Utah, 10) New York, 11) Delaware, 12) Oregon, 13) Kansas, 14) Kentucky and 15) Washington.
I am not a big fan of rankings for the reason that many things that impact such can not be easily quantified with only numbers. However, as long as we persist in doing so, it is interesting to check them out.
For instance; last spring Alabama delayed implementation of new math standards because the governor wanted to compare how we teach math in Alabama to how it is taught in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wyoming, Virgina and New Jersey. Why these states? Because they had the best 4th grade math scores in the country on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests.
It is worth noting that of these five states, four of them are ranked by WalletHub as in the 15 best places to teach. (Virginia was the exception.)
Could it be that there is a correlation between classroom results and Opportunity and competition and Academic and work environment?
Or is expecting lawmakers to link such as simply a bridge too far?