Survey: South Carolina Ranks As 7th Worst State For Teachers

Photo of a teacher in a classroom.
Photo of a teacher in a classroom.

Columbia, SC – Alyssa Gamble is completely happy with the school where her 5-year-old daughter Abby goes to kindergarten, but she’s worried about other schools after hearing about a report by the personal finance website Wallethub.

The report ranks the best and worst states for teachers, based on things like average starting salary, median salary, and spending per student. South Carolina ranks 7th worst.

“Knowing that we tend to rank lower in education levels, when you compare us nationwide, certainly the fact that teachers aren’t paid as well in our state, that definitely worries me when it comes to recruiting good teachers for the future of education in South Carolina,” Gamble said.

The survey also looked at the quality of states’ overall school systems, basing that on dropout rates, math and reading scores, SAT scores, student-teacher ratios, school safety, and bullying incident rates. South Carolina ranked 45th in that.

Palmetto State Teachers Association director Kathy Maness said she doesn’t believe the ranking, but she says one reason South Carolina teachers are paid less is that during the recession the state allowed districts to not give raises…as a way to avoid layoffs.

Maness added that lawmakers are looking at raising starting pay and ending pay. “Teachers in South Carolina cannot retire until 28 years, but on our state salary schedule, it stops at 22 years. So, if your teacher next door is teaching 28 and I’m teaching 22, we’re making the exact same thing,” she said.

Maness said other things like spending per pupil are also up to state lawmakers, who are looking at improving them.

Just to be clear…this survey is not ranking how good the teachers are in the states. It’s the best and worst states for teachers.

While South Carolina ranks 45th overall, North Carolina is even worse, ranking next-to-last. North Carolina ranks 50th…ahead of only West Virginia. There are 51 rankings because the District of Columbia is included. Georgia ranks 37th overall, and Massachusetts ranks 1st.

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