Study Ranks Hawai‘i as 2nd Worst State for Teachers

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Big Island Now stock photo. May 2016.

According to a new report released by the personal-finance website WalletHub, Hawai‘i ranks second in the nation among the worst states for teachers.

The study conducted in-depth analysis of 2017’s Best and Worst States for Teachers, measuring data across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia including factors like teacher income growth potential, pupil to teacher classroom ratios and teacher safety. Two key dimensions played an integral role in the study results: “Opportunity & Competition” and “Academic & Work Environment.”

Hawai‘i’s poor ranking owed to factors like average starting salary for teachers, average annual salary and income growth potential. The WalletHub study revealed the following comparison for Hawai‘i’s teacher-friendliness with the rest of the country (1=Best, 25=Average):

  • 51st – Average starting salary (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 51st – Average annual salary for teachers (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 39th – Quality of school system
  • 35th – Pupil-teacher ratio
  • 20th – Public-school spending per student
  • 42nd – Teacher income growth potential
  • 30th – Projected competition in year 2024
  • 34th – 10-year change in teacher salaries

Source: WalletHub

The study was conducted in an effort to find the best opportunities and environments for educators in the U.S. According to WalletHub, education jobs are among the lowest-paying occupations that require a bachelor’s degree, and teacher salaries consistently fall short of inflation rates. In addition, job stress and lack of mobility contribute to high attrition rates in the U.S. public school system. A study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that roughly one fifth of new public-school teachers leave their positions before the end of their first year; nearly half never last more than five years.


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