Oregon best state to be a teacher, study finds
Oregon is the best state in the country in which to work as a teacher, a new study says, citing competitive pay, supportive principals and co-workers and excellent job security.
On a "teaching attractiveness" scale of 1 to 5, Oregon is the only state to rate higher than 4, at 4.09, according to the study by the Learning Policy Institute, a new think tank formed by retired Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, a former president of the American Education Research Association.
Hanna Vaandering, president of the Oregon Education Association, agreed that Oregon educators work together well and said that collaboration pays off for students.
"The relationship we have built with (principals and superintendents) to lift the voice of educators helps our students learn, and we are extremely proud of that."
The one area in which Oregon rated very off-putting for teachers is well-known: The state has the fourth largest class sizes in the nation, meaning teachers have a very heavy workload.
Vaandering said Oregon teachers made it clear in large surveys that huge class loads make it impossible for them to provide the individualized education they believe students deserve. She put in a plug for Measure 97, which would raise $3 billion a year in corporate taxes and provide a huge injection of money for education from preschool through college, including lowering those big class sizes.
The study is based on large-scale teacher surveys and data collections by the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Education Association and Educational Testing Service.
Oregon's greatest strength in attracting and retaining teachers were the working conditions teachers reported on the 2013 federal Teacher Follow-Up Survey. On that survey, Oregon tied for third in the share of teachers who said they feel supported by their administrator (56 percent) and was a clear No. 1 in the share of teachers who reported that staff in their school cooperate (46 percent).
Oregon tied for fourth-lowest, at 6 percent, in the share of teachers who said they worried that test scores could cost them their job. More than 80 percent of teachers said they feel they have control in their own classroom.
The report, "A Coming Crisis in Teaching?" is designed to call attention to the looming teacher shortages in many states. It emphasizes the importance of paying teachers close to what they could earn in other jobs that require a college education.
Oregon's relatively competitive teacher salaries, as rated by the national teachers union and researchers at Educational Testing Service, are an important part of what makes teaching attractive here, the report said.
But several other states, including New York, Michigan, Alaska and Pennsylvania, outrank Oregon for competitive teacher pay, it said.
Overall, the study found the worst place to be a teacher is Arizona, where low pay, high turnover and huge class sizes make the profession unattractive. After Oregon best state to be a teacher, study finds | OregonLive.com: