A common sentiment expressed by many is that teachers should be paid more for the work they do in educating the youth of this nation. Molding young minds and preparing them for their future careers is considered to be a noble endeavor, albeit a thankless one. 

Financial analysis website Wallethub.com has released their list of “Best States for Teachers.” Unfortunately, Louisiana has ranked near the bottom on the list at No. 48 on the list. Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzalez expressed the challenges that teachers face across the nation, especially in Louisiana. 

"One of the biggest challenges teachers face is trying to provide quality education for their students, while experiencing a reduction in resources, like supplies or technological support,” she said. “Teachers are faced with other pressing issues, such as low pay, constantly changing demands, and high pressure to deliver."

The study used comprehensive data to rank each school based on key indicators. Gonzalez explained the key indicators that were used to evaluate the states.

"The top five indicators when evaluating the best states for teachers would be the quality of the school system, the average salary and income growth potential, the amount of waiting time before tenure kicks in, competition and school enrollment,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also stated that there are many factors that make Louisiana not an ideal place for teachers. Low salaries were just the tip of the iceberg as she explained that low enrollment, tenure troubles, and uncertified teachers contributed to Louisiana’s educational woes.

"Teachers' income growth potential in Louisiana is extremely low, and the ten year change in teacher salaries was just above four percent, among the lowest in the country,” she said. “Other factors that lowered the state's overall rank are the decrease in public school enrollment, the fact that it takes five years for tenure to kick in and the large share of uncertified teachers.”

Many Louisiana teachers face a hostile work environment when compared to other states. Gonzalez cited weakness in the teacher’s union as a reason for that environment.

“In terms of work environment, Louisiana's teacher union lacks in strength, and more than 18 percent of its teachers reported being threatened with injury by a student in the past year,” she said.

She then explained that a strong teacher’s union gives teachers the support they need, and benefits students as well. 

"In general, unions are beneficial to teachers,” Gonzalez said. “This is because their purpose is to protect their members. Consequently, if teachers feel protected in their jobs, it can only be beneficial to students."

It’s easy to identify problems. However, finding solutions can be controversial and difficult. 

"Raising teachers' pay would surely have a positive impact,” Gonzalez said. “Implementing strategies to increase public school enrollment and lowering the number of years until tenure would also help improve Louisiana's situation. Lastly, the state's teachers would benefit from having a stronger union, as well as safer schools."

She also listed some tips for attracting qualified teachers to come to Louisiana and stay. 

"Attracting and retaining teachers is becoming increasingly difficult,” Gonzalez said. “To be able to do that, authorities should implement measures to support teachers in their activities. They should also recognize and encourage the responsibilities that teachers have in mentoring their peers, engaging their students' families and creating a positive school environment."

The complete list can be viewed by logging on to www.wallethub.com.