According to data from the National Education Association, the 2016-17 average public school teacher salary nationwide was $59,660. The highest average salary (New York, at $81,902) was almost double the lowest average (Mississippi at $42,925).
2016 CHART: Compare teacher pay from district to district
Ohio’s 2016-17 average teacher salary was $58,202, ranking 15th nationally. But cost of living also varies widely from state to state, hence this study’s use of a state-by-state living wage metric to compare them.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator offers several variations depending on number of adults, children and workers in a household.
After the ERS study was reported nationally, this news organization questioned the original data, and national ERS researchers acknowledged they had misapplied the calculator.
MIT professor Amy Glasmeier, who created the calculator, confirmed that ERS representatives then contacted her about the issue. ERS then re-ran the data to reach the current conclusions. Adjusting household makeup one way or the other makes more or fewer states’ teacher salary qualify as a living wage.
RELATED: Teacher salary affects recruiting, quality
The ERS study suggested that controlling for inflation, teacher salaries nationwide have been largely flat for decades, and declined in many states since 2010.
Not surprisingly, the study cited federal data showing states that paid teachers the least had more staffing shortages and relied on more uncertified and novice teachers.
Arizona, Colorado, West Virginia and Kentucky are among several states that saw teachers walkouts and demonstrations over low pay in 2018.
The study did show there are two states where average salary is at least 20 percent above the living wage — Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, with New York, Connecticut and Michigan next at plus-15 percent.
2017 STORY: Five things to know about how Ohio teachers are paid
The study also shows that Ohio is slightly above average among states in K-12 revenue as a percent of gross domestic product, ranking 17th.