Best states for teachers? Please respond?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SouthernBuckeye, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    We just got some good news today that my husband will be med boarded out of the Army. I am in my 6th year teaching in NC, 7th year total. I was planning to leave NC but then I met my husband, and I wound up getting "stuck" because he is stationed at Fort Bragg. ;)

    The reason I wanted to leave here was the low pay and lack of teacher unions. I am stuck at first year teacher pay. Now that he's going to separate from the Army, we are free to go anywhere we want. We are renters and don't have kids, so the whole United States is our oyster.

    So, which states are the best for teachers? I am only willing to consider states with unions. I also want a good salary for the cost of living (for example--I grew up in greater Cleveland, which has great teacher salaries in the suburbs but a pretty low cost of living). We have been looking pretty hard at Florida, more specifically Orlando. Not too interested in New York state or the Washington, D.C. area because high salaries are eaten up by a high COL.

    Anyone have any good ideas on other cities/states we should look at? And if it matters, the plan right now is to finish this school year, as the med board will probably take at least 6 months from start to finish, and then move over the summer and start my new job next school year. If the Army really drags things out, I will move ahead of my husband to start getting our new life situated.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm in Northern Virginia. The cost of living is high, but I find the conditions to basically be pretty fantastic, relatively speaking.
     
  4. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    A friend of mine teaches in New Hampshire. Small classes + strong union + great fall colors.

    I'm in a West Coast State: great unions, but huge class sizes.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I don't know where is good, but I've heard some really bad things about Florida. Not sure if you would be any happier there.
     
  6. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    We started the school year here in NC with some classes of 40. It was a nightmare...kids without places to sit, etc. Because the numbers were so high, our P gained positions though and those teachers are starting next week to alleviate the situation.

    I don't think we're going to head out west...my husband's family is from Michigan and my family is all based in Ohio and Florida. Michigan is out too because they took away a lot of union power there, and my husband won't find a great job in his field there. But I think east coast/midwest is where we will stay.

    After my time that I've put in in NC...I just don't know how teachers can do without unions. Without them, NC has taken away master's pay, frozen our pay for 5 years regardless of what step you're on...increased health care costs...uncapped class sizes....eliminated teacher assistants from elementary classrooms...it's awful. I just don't want to do it anymore here.
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    I've heard good about MA, MN, NJ, and CT. I've heard much bad about NC, MS, TX, CA, and LA. Sure there are exceptions to this. It can be difficult to generalize a whole state.
     
  8. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I was going to give advice saying to stay out of NC, but I'm glad to hear you found a way out!
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I've heard awful things too..I considered moving to Florida a couple of years ago, largely because I hate winter and would love the beach, and pretty much everyone told me I was completely insane. After hearing specifics, I'm glad I chose to stay in CO. Here we have unions but their "strength" varies greatly from district to district. The salary is livable but not great compared to the COL. However, Denver is an absolutely awesome place to live! Have you considered moving back to OH? It's my home state and I think teachers have it great there as far as strong unions and salary vs. COL. It's a really tight market though.
     
  10. chrissy1214phx

    chrissy1214phx Rookie

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    Arizona is always hiring.. lots of charters are being built too
     
  11. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    I was going to say Arizona as well, but then read that the OP only wanted states that have unions. I think the job market in AZ is very good, and the cost of living reasonable. The weather sucks, though.
     
  12. reneeinms

    reneeinms Rookie

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    I second the idea to stay away from MS and LA. Many of my friends went to Alabama. I know they pay a lot and have a low COL. I have no idea about their unions.

     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm from the Orlando area and I would never teach anywhere else. The highest paid district around here is Osceola and they traditionally hire more than 200 teachers every summer. Class sizes are strictly adhered to, lots of classroom and curricular support, and lots of community support.

    Plus...and much more important :) Disney is here!

    I have annual passes to all the theme parks around here because we enjoy going to them all the time.

    Good luck with the life changes!
     
  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    See, and I was coming here to say to come to Louisiana. Many districts have a teacher shortage. That said, some districts are terribly disorganized and the state is going through rapid changes, but many of us quite like working here. I work in a fairly autonomous environment, and though we aren't a "union state" we have strong representation and several actions going on right now against different school districts. My pay is quite reasonable considering the cost of living here. My husband and I (both teachers) live quite nicely.
     
  15. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    Yes, we've thought about it, since I'm from Cleveland and my husband is from Detroit, it would be a good spot for both of us.

    However, yes, the market is very tight and it seems to be all about who you know up there. And I don't know anyone up there because I've been down here for so long now. Plus I'm a special ed teacher, and while in NC I'm highly qualified and licensed in reading and middle grades math, I would lose both of those going back to Ohio because I got them by Praxis tests, not by credit hours, and Ohio requires both. When I called the Ohio licensing people they said I'd actually have to enroll at a university and go through an add on program, as they don't accept just random credit hours that I've taken down here. I don't really want to pay a lot in tuition for more undergrad classes, so...yeah. Also, my in-laws in Detroit are the kind of people I'd rather be moving further away from, not closer to! (part of the reason my husband joined the Army was to, um, better himself). Can't really say much more than that...I don't want them to see this somehow... :lol:

    I am soooooooo relieved that we won't have to be tied down here anymore due to the military. I was ready to leave 2 years ago, but then I met my husband and wound up sticking around. The only thing that has helped has been that with the Army and all, we have Tricare. So even though I kept the state health plan too, Tricare pays all the copays and the deductible. That has given me a "raise" of about $100/month and still allows me to be seen off post (going on post is kind of a nightmare--long waits and it's hard to get same day appointments for acute stuff because the soldiers are first priority) Also, I took a job in a different building this year that is exactly a 5 minute drive from our house. I could actually walk, if the main road I have to take had sidewalks, but it doesn't, so it's not really pedestrian friendly, but I only have to fill up my gas tank every two weeks, so that's a savings of about $100/month too. Last year, I was commuting 30 minutes each way and had to fill up again by Thursday every week. Anyway, it's slightly better because of having Tricare as a secondary insurer and my super short commute.

    I have heard good things about Osceola. One of my friends told me that Orange County is kind of a nightmare for special ed paperwork but Osceola has a much better system for all that. My friend teaches at the Renaissance Charter at Poinciana and she said she makes the same as teachers in the county system (in Ohio, that wasn't the case, it was WAY lowballed in Ohio in charter systems). So I think I will apply to Osceola for sure. My friend lives in the Hunters Creek Area, and I have another friend who lives in Celebration and works at Disney Corporate! I would love to have an annual pass to Disney because I think it would be so fun to be able to go to Epcot and eat whenever I want.

    Also, FWIW, me and my husband are both scuba divers and it would be nice to be about an hour from both the Atlantic and the Gulf. It would be nice to have all those resorts accessible if we wanted to "get away" without having to pay for plane tickets. Same thing for cruises with Port Canaveral being convenient. I could go on and on, I just love the idea of Orlando.
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I've gotten two jobs in Ohio without knowing anyone. I live in columbus now and the only other places I could imagine living are Cleveland (where I'm from) and Louisville. I love, love Ohio. FWIW, we have family in Detroit as well and still only see them about three times a year (my mom's brother and his fam).
     
  17. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Many people don't realize just how gigantic New York is. If you teach on Long Island or in the NYC area, yeah, you'll have a high COL. But if you move up toward the Hudson Valley region, or if you go to the Buffalo area or even more south toward Chautauqua county, you won't be met with a high COL but won't have to sacrifice being in the middle of nowhere.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You will have to deal with 400 people all applying for the same job, though.
     
  19. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Better than the 6000 I was up against earlier this year. I'd be thrilled to apply for jobs where the applicants-per-position was under 1000!!
     
  20. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    That's why I suggested Louisiana earlier. There are still teacher shortages in a few areas here. I know of a few schools in my district right now who are looking for high school English teachers and can't find anyone certified. One teacher at my school was just hired from out of state.
     
  21. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    NE Ohio might be a tough area. I know the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is/was hiring for awhile. Are you an intervention specialist? They have those openings right now. Catholic schools also hire for intervention specialists, and sometimes you still get paid public school salary and benefits, depending on the contract and situation - obviously you would have to have the proper certification for this.
     
  22. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    Yes, if I came back to Ohio, my license would be intervention specialist mild/moderate. That's what I had when I graduated (I went to Ashland for my UG degree). However, since I've been in NC so long my Ohio license lapsed. I did the Praxis III while on the 2 year initial but never applied for my 5 year professional. Not sure how that would be addressed if I came back. I don't even have my proof that I passed it anymore. I don't know if ODE keeps that on file or...?

    I wouldn't mind working for CMSD, because my school this year is very similar to an inner city population, so I could handle that without issues. I know that they have a pretty strong union and I'd get paid enough that we could live in a cute Warehouse District loft near all the other young yuppies. Then if we had kids we could move to Solon (I graduated from Solon HS...they are still top notch, but there's like 500 applicants per opening there when it comes to teaching).
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I decided to keep up my OH license in case I ever want to move back. From what I read, if you have three years of experience they waive the other requirements. This was about a year and a half ago, so I guess it's possible there have been major changes since then. My problem was that my OH license was the probationary 2 year license and obviously at the end of it I didn't have the three years to qualify for a regular license. I called ODE and they told me to apply for the 4 year probationary license, which worked out just fine. If I ever want to go back now I'll have the minimum experience credit to get a professional license. I know for sure that they don't require Praxis III anymore. It's a mentor program during your first year teaching instead.

    I'm from the Cincinnati area and the "better" schools get 4,000-5,000 applicants for each job. Maybe it's way different in the northern part of the state, but I think you might be underestimating how tight the market really is.
     
  24. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    In the NE OH schools I applied for (and there were a lot including Rocky River, Avon Lake, Strongsville, etc...), most jobs seemed to average about 500 applicants. This was in 2011 and 2012. Some had way more (River had 1000+). Some had fewer than 500. I have no idea how many applied to the job I have now (close to Springfield). I know the superintendent narrowed it to 50 and then the committee narrowed it from there and chose who to interview. I knew literally no one within an hour radius of the school! Last year at the HS we hired an FCS teacher, librarian, and me (English). This year we hired math, music, and sped. We graduate under 100 kids a year.
     
  25. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I went to college in Springfield! At the time they told us Springfield City had 200 applicants per position. I did most of my field experiences in that district and it definitely scared me away from applying!
     
  26. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I can't say I've heard anything great about the district! I love my little district though. I can't imagine leaving :)
     
  27. bros

    bros Phenom

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    NJ/NY are good if you can get get a job
     
  28. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    That's good they don't require Praxis III anymore. That was a pain in the butt!

    And yes, I knew that it was tight...with a high number of applicants per position, it may or may not be slightly better for intervention specialists.

    I feel like Ohio is the last state where teachers can truly make a comfortable middle class living, *and* be treated like professionals. The unions are so strong and the COL is low. I know that a few years back there was all that Senate Bill 5 stuff and it was signed into law, then recalled. I was proud of voters for demanding that it be overturned. No wonder there's so many people trying to get in up there! :lol:

    It's sounding like Florida is a better option. The money isn't as good but at least there isn't like fierce competition just to be interviewed.
     
  29. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    We have fought hard for what we have in Ohio. Last year my district hired 35 teachers. We are in the top five in the state (ranking), and get loads of applications, but spec ed is often in need. Some new hires were prior Title aides, and some knew nobody.

    Good luck!
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    If can be a huge word....And 'good' is relative..

    The job market is extremely competitive in NJ. Teachers are paying more into pension and healthcare, it now takes 4 years to get tenure. Contact negotiations can be very difficult and getting even more contentious. Our governor is not Ed friendly and he will most likely be re-elected.
    We have a residency requirement. New hires have one year to become a state resident. Hence, many districts prefer those who are already NJ residents. Having current NJ certification is also imperative as it takes QUITE A WHILE to transfer quals from another state and due to having potentially hundreds of applicants for any one opening, schools look more favorably on those who have their NJ cert 'in hand', not pending.

    The OP stated she wasn't interested in NY. NJ has a high cost of living so the pay scales may look good, but it's all relative.

    Forewarned is forearmed.
     
  31. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It seems Kentucky is a good state for teachers. My experiences and thoughts:

    Teaching is considered by some in my area to be even an "uppity" profession. We earn considerably more than the average income. Low cost of living.

    A master's degree is required and we are compensated for that.

    While I have gone without an actual raise some years, I have always been able to move up the scale for experience each year. There are incremental pay increases for education, too.

    I have always had a lot of freedom in the classroom. Cover the standards however I wish.

    We are not constantly testing (although assessments of all kinds have played a larger role in the past couple years).

    I applied to just a few schools and I've had a few interviews and was offered a position after each. I've even had two schools contact me midyear asking me to work for them. Point not being that I'm just fabulous (haha!), but that this business of having thousands of applicants for one position doesn't happen in my area. The last interview panel I was on, just this year, had fewer than five applicants!

    I also just love my state. :)
     
  32. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    I've also heard NY state requires a masters to get licensed, which I don't have. I am at BA + 24 (and the 24 I have is from two separate programs but I started but didn't finish--I was going to finish the second one but then they voted down masters pay for teachers in NC giving me no incentive to finish).
     
  33. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    i love my job and love NY but testing has become more increased. the city just passed performance tests which are directly linked to teacher ratings (State tests are also linked as well). Unfortunately, "teaching to the test" has become a very popular word in my district ...and i can't half blame the teachers that are saying that (NEVER thought id ever hear myself say that!) :unsure:
     
  34. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    I recommend Northern CA. You get the CA wage, but cost of living is much cheaper up north. We have good unions, and the majority of districts pay for MA degree.

    You are SPED, yes? You'd have no trouble finding a job. Regular elementary is tough, and Social Sci/Art/Music is non-existent. Other than that, most other areas have picked up in the last year or so.
     
  35. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    NY gives you time to get your Masters and most districts and even private schools give you a raise once you complete your Masters. I work in a private school so I don't have to deal with the testing others have mentioned. Also, it's a big state so what is true in NYC and surrounding areas (Long Island, Westchester, etc) is not true north of the Capitol Region. Cost of living is much lower and if you are willing to look all over the state there are a good deal of job openings. I do not live that far upstate like a friend of mine does so I did have some trouble finding a good position. People always forget it's a big state not just a giant, expensive city. That said, even with ultiple openings it helps to know people and be an extremely strong candidate.
     
  36. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Michigan
     
  37. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I was really proud of that whole Senate Bill 5 thing too! I do think that the public doesn't respect teachers as much in OH. Both of my parents are teachers and they still live in Cincinnati, which happens to be a conservative city also. They will have random acquaintances go on and on about how teachers are overpaid and underworked. My dad used to go out with a breakfast group from his church for years and stopped going because they were always complaining about teachers. They always told him he was the "exception" and not the rule. My mom even had a cashier at the grocery store go off on her once (she had asked for a separate receipt to get reimbursed for items she was buying for a school picnic). I ended up losing a close friend of over 10 years because she was constantly posting negative things about teachers on FB. Even though the whole Senate Bill 5 thing did fall through, I think the governor there has used it to really made it a hostile environment. Both of my parents and my best friend (also a teacher in OH) feel like they're "public enemy number 1" and it's very draining on them. I don't really feel that at all here in CO. I've gotten nothing but respect when I tell people what I do, and many local places will even give teachers discounts or free appetizers and things like that.

    I also wonder if part of that attitude is that teachers in OH really do make a good living. My parents live in a really nice house in a great neighborhood and it cost them less than 150K. My dad's at the top of his pay scale and he makes almost 100K a year. A similar housing situation here would be about 500K and most districts top off around 60K for salary scales. My family never really had to worry about money. My parents even paid for my college upfront (no loans) and my dad will get his full salary when he retires.
     
  38. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    Yeah...I don't think Cincinnati would be my top pick of where to go in Ohio. I'd rather be somewhere near Columbus or Cleveland which seem to be more "blue." A lot of the Cleveland area districts pay really high, especially in the wealthy suburbs. But I looked at the CMSD pay scale and it starts at $42,000, so even they are pretty generous! My dad still lives in a Cleveland suburb and he said he's been seeing a lot of TV ads for teachers as well as in the newspaper. I guess a lot of people are finally starting to retire out. I am facebook friends with one of my high school teachers from Solon, and he's doing well enough on his pension that he bought a second home in Myrtle Beach and goes back and forth between Ohio and there all the time. I'm pretty sure Solon is one of the districts where you can top out near $100K. I know for a fact the principals in Solon are making well over $100K. That being said, Solon has million dollar houses in some parts of the city.

    It is so sad that all that public enemy propaganda was around while they were trying to push through SB5. I don't get what is wrong with teachers demanding a livable salary and good benefits. In the private sector, other professional jobs are given all that. And I also don't understand why people would want their child taught by someone who isn't being well compensated. Here in NC, people are so tired and disgruntled by the pay freezes and increasing health costs that we have no power to defend ourselves against. And principals here can play favorites and politics since we don't have the protection of a union rep. My friend just told me last night that her friend gave her all "poor" on an evaluation because she didn't specifically label "student work" and "word wall" on her bulletin boards, but had words up and student work displaying. She was also marked "poor" for collaboration, when she had students work in partners and then in groups. Yet she has no way to protect herself from stuff like that. This is someone I taught with for several years who is a great teacher and until now has never had an issue--we both wound up leaving one school for other opportunities--but it's just ridiculous and sad how we are treated here in NC.
     
  39. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Waterfall, it's definitely not like that in the whole state! I live in the city of columbus but teach rural. I am consistently amazed at the support I get. My kids' parents are AWESOME for the most part.
     
  40. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I know a special ed/intervention specialist who taught a year in NC, came running back to Ohio and got hired almost right away at Shaker - it is possible! I don't know about the ODE Praxis details, but I'm pretty sure you would apply for the 4 year license if you previously had the 2 year provisional and never did the mentor year- get on this ASAP if you are serious - when my OH license expired temporarily after living abroad it seemed like no district in the state would even look at my resume.
     

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