PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island ranked 29th in the U.S. as a favorable environment for teachers, according to a WalletHub comparison of the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 22 indicators of teacher-friendliness.
WalletHub’s data set ranges from teachers’ income growth potential to pupil-teacher ratio to teacher safety. The assessment focused on two key dimensions, “Opportunity & Competition” and “Academic & Work Environment,” with a heavier weight to the first category because competitive salaries and job security are integral to a well-balanced personal and professional life, according to WalletHub.
Four New England states’ school systems were rated among the best in the U.S. in descending order: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Overall, Connecticut ranked best among New England states at #2, with Massachusetts taking #13, Vermont ranking 27th, New Hampshire ranking 38th and Maine ranking 40th. Rhode Island ranked third best for teachers in New England at 29th.
WalletHub asked Annahita Ball, assistant professor in the School of Social Work at University at Buffalo how local officials can recruit the best teachers:
“Given that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain teachers, local officials will have to do a good job of convincing the best teachers that their local municipality and district is doing something different and better than the others. They should develop and implement strategies that support teachers in their roles as instructors, but also recognize the many other roles and responsibilities that teachers have (such as coaching and mentoring peers, engaging families, creating positive school climate, and managing student behavior). They also should compensate teachers for these additional responsibilities appropriately. I also suggest that local officials stay attuned to current research on best practices, and remain open to modifying their approaches as local needs change keeping a close ear to feedback and input from teachers,” Ball said.