State by State: Where Teachers Get the Worst — and Best — Deal

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Maybe the famed three R’s of education — reading, writing and arithmetic — need to add a fourth R, raises. Teachers in districts across the country have made the news over the past year as they held rallies and, in some cities, went on strike to improve pay and school funding.

And for good reason: Research gathered this year by Governing Magazine shows that many of the very states where teachers are protesting are places where the difference between teachers’ pay and that of similarly educated private-sector workers is the greatest.

While the private-sector economy has gained momentum in recent years, teacher salaries haven’t kept up with inflation, according to this research, which compared average salary estimates for elementary and secondary school teachers in 2016 compiled by the National Education Association with U.S. Census data on the average salary nationally for full-time private-sector workers.

Few teachers go into education for the monetary rewards, but, as the study shows, choosing a teaching career is much more rewarding in some states than in others. Here’s a look at how teacher pay compares with the private sector in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Note: The slides start at the state where teachers make the smallest percentage of private sector pay (No. 51) and move to the state with the largest percentage (No. 1).

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