NEW JERSEY -- Personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2019’s Best & Worst States for Teachers. The good news for teachers in New Jersey is that the state ranked as second best in the nation.

In order to help educators find the best opportunities and teaching environments in the U.S., WalletHub analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 23 key metrics, ranging from teachers’ income growth potential to pupil-teacher ratio to teacher safety.

New Jersey rankings in important categories:

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  • 1st: Academic & Work Environment
  • 2nd: Quality of School System
  • 3rd: Avg. Starting Salary for Teachers (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 3rd: Pupil-Teacher Ratio
  • 4th: Public-School Spending per Student
  • 6th: Teacher Safety
  • 11th: Avg. Salary for Teachers (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 24th: Teachers’ Income Growth Potential

North Dakota was deemed the Best State for Teachers, followed by New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Utah and neighboring New York in the Top 10. Arizona ranked last among the 50 states. 

(1 = Best) State ‘Opportunity & Competition’ Rank ‘Academic & Work Environment’ Rank
1 North Dakota 11 3
2 New Jersey 17 1
3 Pennsylvania 2 10
4 Wyoming 20 4
5 Connecticut 32 2
6 Illinois 6 16
7 Minnesota 14 7
8 Massachusetts 24 5
9 Utah 8 22
10 New York 25 6

What should teachers look for in choosing a school district?

"Do your own homework regarding the community and school district you're about to join. It's important you also have a sense of how supportive and involved local authorities are," says WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. "Young teachers should settle where they have an opportunity to grow as professionals, and where the importance of their work is acknowledged and valued."

For this examination, WalletHub measured the following:

Opportunity & Competition (70%)
WalletHub looked at factors, including: Average Starting Salary for Teachers (double weight ); Average Salary for Teachers; Teachers’ Income Growth Potential; 10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries; Average Teacher Pension;  
Share of New Teachers with Inadequate Pensions; Projected Number of Teachers per 1,000 students by 2026);
Public-School Enrollment Growth: Length of Time Before Tenure Kicks in; Tenure Protections.

Academic & Work Environment (30%)
Quality of School System (triple weight); Pupil-Teacher Ratio; Public-School Spending per Student; Presence of Annual Teacher-Evaluation Requirement; Teacher Turnover; Teacher Union Strength; Teacher Safety (measures the percentage of public-school teachers who reported being threatened with injury by a student from school during the previous 12 months); Share of Teachers Who Feel Supported by Their Administrator; Average Commute Time; Prevalence of Childhood Disadvantage; and Working Mom-Friendliness.

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