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Analysis: Illinois Financially Rewarding Place for Teachers

The average starting salary for teachers in Illinois is about $39,000 per year. Credit: Cynthia357/Morguefile
The average starting salary for teachers in Illinois is about $39,000 per year. Credit: Cynthia357/Morguefile
October 1, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Teachers around Illinois are instrumental in the development of children, and a new analysis finds the Prairie State is among the most financially rewarding places for teachers to work.

The personal finance website WalletHub ranks Illinois 11th nationally on its list of The Best and Worst States for Teachers.

Spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez says the state did so well because the income growth potential is huge.

"The average starting salary for teachers – and this is adjusted for cost of living – is about $39,000 per year,” she says. “That ranked eighth highest in the country. But the median annual salary ranked second highest – $64,000 a year."

Illinois ranked second for teachers' median annual salary, ninth for safest schools and 10th in school systems.

But the state receives not-so-good marks for its pupil-to-teacher ratio, ranking 30th.

Since education budgets were slashed during the recession, Gonzalez says teachers are shortchanged every year. She adds there's a high turnover rate in the profession because of salaries that do not keep up with inflation and tough standards such as No Child Left Behind.

"They're having these, a lot of times, non-competitive salaries while they have to really amp up what they're doing in terms of results and test scores,” she explains. “So we're seeing that about a fifth of all new public school teachers leave their positions before the end of the first year."

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, teachers often feel overwhelmed, ineffective and unsupported.

And Gonzalez says teachers should be paid reasonably and treated fairly to ensure the quality of education.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL