New rankings suggest Kansas schools provide teachers strong work environment — but below-average earning potential

Students at work in an engineering class at the Shawnee Mission School District’s Center for Academic Achievement.

Kansas presents its public school teachers with a relatively strong academic and work environment based on the quality of its school districts, average class sizes, strength of teachers unions, and other factors.

But the salaries and pension benefits teachers get in Kansas put it among the least appealing states for opportunity and competition in the profession.

That’s according to WalletHub’s new 2018 Best and Worst States for Teachers rankings, released Monday.

The website, which produces a range of rankings related to financial health and quality of life in communities across the country, put Kansas 34th overall among the 50 states and District of Columbia.

Kansas teachers fared well in the academic and work environment subranking, which looked at variables like pupil-teacher ratio, teacher union strength and teacher safety. Kansas came in 15th out of 51 in those combined areas.

In the opportunity and competition subranking, however, Kansas lagged behind. On those combined variables, which looked at teacher pay and benefits, among other items, Kansas finished 45th out of 51.

New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, Illinois and North Dakota took the top five overall spots in the rankings.

Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Arizona and Hawaii took the bottom five spots.

Missouri came in 15th overall, and finished eighth in the opportunity and competition rankings and 31st in the academic and work environment rankings.

You can find the full rankings here.