This is a difficult problem to address. There are many variables to consider: economic levels, parent level of education, local job availability, family income, remoteness of an area, just to name some of the obvious considerations. West Virginia has always ranked low in national student achievement statistics. At times we have hovered around 50th in teacher salaries and occasionally we have made into the low 40″s in national rankings. Regardless, we have always been near the bottom of the list.
The question that must be addressed is the substandard wages that our state pays it teachers. This is a vicious cycle that seems hard to escape. For years the state relied on the coal industry to provide enough tax base to at least keep the budget balanced, but today the use of coal is decreasing and mechanization has reduced the need for coal miners thus reducing the tax base for the state. The brainiacs that we elected keep reducing taxes and the end result is financial chaos, which is where we are now I do not see a good end to this situation. The teachers are underpaid, the state has no money, they refuse to raise taxes on the few corporations and the people keep voting these substandard individuals into office. West Virginia is bought and sold by the resource and energy industries and they have a lot to say in the form of political contributions to these dunces in office.
Wow, where can this possibly go? This is like a boat approaching a waterfall! This has no good possible outcomes. If the teachers suddenly grow a backbone and stand up for their profession and the students of West Virginia, I have no idea what the legislature will or can do. I can not even make a guess as to the outcome of this game of chicken. The teachers have tolerated low wages and decreasing healthcare benefits for so long, they are at the end of their rope. Stay tuned for what will, in the end, be in a whimper as teachers scurry back to their classrooms or a battle of epic proportions if they stand up to the state government. I am rooting for the teachers but I would not place any money bets.
50. Mississippi: $42,043
49. Oklahoma: $42,647
48. South Dakota: $43,200
47. North Carolina: $43,587
46. Arizona: $43,800
46. West Virginia: $45,477