Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The 10 Worst US Cities to Be a Teacher

Infographic- The 10 Worst US Cities to Be a Teacher

Being a teacher can be a thankless and trying job for even the most experienced and dedicated educators out there. With many leaving the profession after just five years on the job, it clearly isn’t for everyone, nor is it the easy job that many in the political world paint it to be. Teachers may enjoy summer vacations and breaks throughout the semester but many work long hours during the school year, deal with troubled students, and face a serious lack of educational resources for teaching.

Even in the best schools and communities, teaching is far from an easy career, but some cities pose special challenges for those who choose to teach, with many schools lacking funding, facing high drop-out rates, having violence on campus, or offering abysmally low salaries or a lack of jobs overall. While not every teacher in these schools is miserable, these cities offer some of the worst working conditions for teachers anywhere in the U.S., a trend we hope changes soon for teachers in these districts.

  1. Pierre, South Dakota

    When it comes to making money as a teacher, South Dakota is one of your worst bets. Average pay for teachers statewide is just $35,201, well below the $40,000 average in the U.S. In addition to low pay, teachers in the South Dakota capital shouldn’t expect to get much respect from legislators. The state’s governor, Dennis Daugaard has laid out numerous plans to cut education in the state, believing that many teachers and educational staff are dead weight and unnecessary for schools to function. He’s also proposed a 10% cut in education funding, which many in the state believe will cripple schools that are already struggling to perform to standards. Currently, the state has a 6.6% graduation rate, a figure that isn’t likely to improve with further cuts and disrespect to teachers.

  2. Topeka, Kansas

    Education in Kansas’ capital isn’t exactly booming. The state, Topeka included, suffers from low assessment scores and low graduation rates (just 6.4%). Even worse, Kansas officials have asked to opt out of certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind law because schools in the state can’t keep up with rising standards due to a lack of core curriculum. More than five dozen school districts filed a class action suit in November over what they consider to be unconstitutional cuts in state aid. These troubles have added up to a poor working environment for teachers, one that isn’t likely to change soon as the state’s governor has proposed even more budget cuts for education. In addition, Topeka offers teacher salaries that are in the bottom 10 nationwide, averaging just $47,080 a year. Things don’t get better down the line either, as legislators plan to change or eliminate current retirement programs.

  3. Nashville, Tennessee

    Education is a hot button issue in Nashville right now, as new legislation on a variety of issues has been proposed throughout the state. Officials are trying to cope with low graduation rates and some poorly performing schools, but with teachers only earning an average of $47,000 a year (those in Nashville start under $40,000 a year, less than other smaller cities in the state) and with new plans to forbid teachers unions from collective bargaining, many educators feel demoralized and underappreciated. Perhaps more troubling is legislation that proposes to prohibit teachers from discussing alternative lifestyles with students, banning any talk of gay or lesbian relationships, and a bill dubbed “the monkey bill” that seeks to limit the teaching of evolution and other scientific topics in schools.

  4. Albuquerque, New Mexico

    When it comes to teacher salaries, New Mexico comes in near the bottom, with teachers statewide earning just $46,950, including those who’ve been working for more than 10 years. Additionally, the state’s pension system is massively underfunded, with more than $5.9 billion in liabilities and only 60% of the cash on hand to pay them. As a whole, education isn’t faring well in New Mexico, with just 67% of students graduating from high school and 24 school districts requesting emergency financial help in 2010. The state is pushing hard for reform, however, though only time will tell if these changes are beneficial to teachers.

  5. Detroit, Michigan

    It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Detroit is a hard place to be a teacher. The city earned the honor of “Most Dangerous City in America” in 2007 due to both its incredibly high rate of property crimes such as car theft and burglary, and a rate of violent crime that’s the sixth-highest in the U.S. In addition to high crime, years of economic woes, and a huge population drop over the past two decades have left many public services in the city, including education, crippled. Detroit has an incredibly low job growth rate in almost every educational field but does offer teachers fairly good pay, with a statewide average of $50,238. Of course, teachers may get paid more because they have to work harder than their counterparts elsewhere in the state. In Detroit, 34.5% of kids live in poverty with the majority coming from single-parent homes. Despite failing schools and troubled students, the city has been slow to adopt reforms, and in a 2010 study by the Fordham Institute was given a grade of F across the board for reform friendliness.

  6. St. Louis, Missouri

    When it comes to crime, parts of St. Louis aren’t far behind notorious cities like Detroit. The city has been plagued by gang crime, some of which has shown up in local middle and high schools as well, and was named the “Most Dangerous City” in the U.S. in 2006. What’s worse for teachers is that the St. Louis school district had its accreditation revoked in 2006 by the Missouri board of education for not meeting state standards several years in a row, and six years later has yet to fully get it back. While schools have made great strides, teacher salaries are on the low end nationwide, averaging just $46,411, and many may not be able to cope with struggling students, lack of resources, and a district that still hasn’t recovered from a major setback.

  7. New Orleans, Louisiana

    New Orleans has had a rough couple of years with the devastation reaked by Hurricane Katrina, but even before that the education system was faltering and the state as a whole (though New Orleans especially) was a leader in violent crime, being named the murder capital of the U.S. in 2007. Today, more than 40% of kids in New Orleans live under the poverty line and lack basic school supplies, educational resources, and even food at home. Even worse, 91 of the 103 public schools in the city are in the failing category according to No Child Left Behind standards, making it the lowest performing school district in the state. Teacher salaries are low, with most starting at just $34,374 on average, and with schools already struggling to make ends meet, jobs are pretty hard to come by, especially at good schools. However, the city has one bright spot in that is has been ranked well for its acceptance of reform, being ranked among the most reform-friendly in the U.S.

  8. Bismark, North Dakota

    North Dakota doesn’t fare much better than South Dakota when it comes to being a great place for teachers. Teachers statewide make an average of just $44,266 and the troubled state is expecting major budget cuts in the future. In recent years, more than 500 teachers and 1,200 teaching assistants have been laid off statewide, a trend that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. Current budget cut proposals would slash the budget of the Bismark School District by $6 million, meaning more layoffs may be on the horizon and many students may not get access to the educational resources and personnel they need.

  9. Biloxi, Mississippi

    Schools in Mississippi are some of the most troubled in the U.S. High school graduation rates are at just 64%, the worst in the nation, as are the state’s abysmal reading and math scores. Work in Biloxi or any of the state’s other major cities may be ideal for teachers who are looking for a challenge, but salary and job security may be major issues to consider. Teachers make an average of $46,818 a year, the 6th-lowest in the nation, and new jobs are being limited by statewide budget cuts. Additionally, the state faces a high crime rate and is one of the poorest and least healthy in the nation, putting greater pressure on teachers and increasing absenteeism of students.

  10. San Jose, California

    San Jose is close to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, is a wealthy community, and offers a great public safety record, diversity, and a great climate. It should be a great place to be a teacher, right? It depends on what you’re basing your assessment on. San Jose has one of the lowest job growth rates in the nation, making teaching jobs incredibly hard to come by. Cutbacks and layoffs have affected this community as well as many others across California due to the state’s severe budget crisis. The city was also ranked one of the worst for school reform and change by the Fordham Institute, scoring a D grade overall. This reticence to change is driven both by strong union resistance and leaders that are generally apathetic toward school reform. San Jose is not a terrible place to be a teacher, especially not when compared with many other schools on this list, but for those who want job security, opportunity, and a forward-thinking workplace, it’s one of the worst in the nation on all accounts.

Taken From Online Colleges

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