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Study Shows Louisiana Among Worst States for Teachers

Sep 23, 2019 04:52PM ● By Flint Zerangue, Sr.

Education in Acadiana – Part 1

Teaching can be a profoundly rewarding career, considering the critical role educators play in shaping young minds. But many public-school teachers, including those in Acadiana, find themselves overworked, overwhelmed, underappreciated, and in some cases underpaid.

For these reasons, some sources estimate that up to 50 percent of the teachers currently in American classrooms will either retire or leave the profession over the next five to seven years.

The statistics for teacher turnover among new teachers are startling, with some 20 percent of all new hires leaving the classroom within their first three years. According to the National Association of Educators (NAE), in urban districts, the numbers are worse, with nearly 50 percent of newcomers estimated to leave the profession during their first five years of teaching.

In a newly released report written by Adam McCann for WallettHUB™, a combination of job pressures force many teachers to quit soon after they start, “as the result of feeling overwhelmed, ineffective, and unsupported.”

In some states, however, teachers are more fairly treated than in others. Those states are less likely to face a revolving door of teacher turnover. To help shed light on the mounting problem with teacher turnover, WalletHub™ compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 23 key indicators of teacher-friendliness. Their data set ranges from teachers’ income growth potential to pupil-teacher ratio to teacher safety.  

Unfortunately, Louisiana ranked near the bottom of Best States for Teachers, with an Overall Ranking of 48th, beating out Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Arizona.

From the key indicators reviewed for Teacher-Friendliness, here’s where Louisiana faired:

- 29th – Avg. Salary for Teachers (Adjusted for Cost of Living)

- 50th – Quality of School System

- 23rd – Pupil-Teacher Ratio

- 27th – Public-School Spending per Student

- 50th – Teachers’ Income Growth Potential

- 26th – Projected Competition in Year 2026

- 45th – 10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries

- 46th – Teacher Safety

Listed as the 10 Best 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

Other Study Findings

Best Public-School Systems by State:

            1. Massachusetts

            2. New Jersey

            3. Connecticut

            4. Virginia

            5. Vermont

 Worst Public-School Systems by State

            47. West Virginia

            48. Mississippi

            49. Arizona

            50. Louisiana

            51. New Mexico

 Lowest Classroom Pupil-Teacher Ratio

            1. Vermont

            2. North Dakota

            3. New Jersey

            4. Maine

            5. New Hampshire

Highest Classroom Pupil-Teacher Ratio

            47. Oregon

            48. Nevada

            49. Utah

            50. California

            51. Arizona

Highest Public-School Spending Per Student

            1. New York

            2. District of Columbia

            3. Alaska

            4. New Jersey

            5. Massachusetts

 Lowest Public-School Spending per Student

            47. Arizona

            48. Oklahoma

            49. Indiana

            50. Utah

            51. Idaho

While the study does take into account some of the concern’s described to us by public school teachers in Acadiana, it does not address many specific topics that are forcing an ever-growing number of local teachers to exit the classroom prematurely.

In Part 2 of our Education in Acadiana series, we’ll dig deeper into the causes of premature teacher turn-over, the high cost of replacing qualified teachers, and possible solutions.