States That Pay Public School Teachers Most

50 million children attend public elementary and high schools in the U.S., with parents often highly invested in which schools offer the greatest improvement to the academic progress of their child. As everybody knows, an inspiring teacher is the beating heart of every excellent public school.

While teaching is often described as a vocation, the lure of a good salary at a school can count for a lot, meaning it may surprise some a teacher's average annual paycheck varies throughout the U.S.

NCES data covering the the period 2019 to 2020 shows the average annual wage for a school teacher in the U.S. is calculated to be $63,645, while the state of Mississippi ($45,192) is recorded as paying the least.

Newsweek counts down the U.S. states paying public elementary and secondary school teachers the highest average annual salary.

20. Wisconsin ($59,176)

There are 5,989 public and private PK-12 schools in Wisconsin, a significant number of which are rated as being excellent in academics and extracurricular activities.

A brief trend of improvement in math proficiency ended in 2019, When Wisconsin students' test scores fell slightly in the 2018 to 19 academic year, Department of Public Instruction data has shown.

19. Ohio ($59,713)

Ohio Department of Education data reveals public schools serve approximate 1.8 million students in the state, meaning Ohio possesses the sixth-largest public school system in the U.S.

Yet among Ohio's broadly unexceptional public school system, 100 Ohio school districts recorded graduation rates of over 90 percent in 2010, including some of which are best in America.

public school teachers
Public schools in these U.S states pay their teachers the most, on average Jovanmandic/Getty Images

18. New Hampshire ($60,003)

New Hampshire is rated as among the best in the U.S.for low student-to-teacher ratio in 2021, according to the National Education Association.

However, the same report states New Hampshire comes last in terms of state funding for public education.

17. Georgia ($60,578)

Public School Teachers
Approximately 50 million children in the United States attended public elementary and secondary schools in 2016 monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

The state writes in a statement: "At the K-12 level, Georgia has paved the way for new approaches to education.

"The state enables entire school systems, as well as individual schools, to obtain charter status so that they can determine how best to serve their communities.

16. Vermont ($61,108)

There are at present 250 public schools in the state, including 28 union high schools supported by towns with separate school districts for elementary grades.

Students in Vermont score higher than the U.S. average in in a wide range of both subject and grade level.

15. Michigan ($62,185)

Approximately 1,555,370 students were enrolled in a total of 3,550 schools in 891 school districts in the Michigan public school system in 2013.

Four high schools among this number have been ranked as being among America's top 100 for the second consecutive year by the U.S. News and World Report.

14. Delaware ($64,853)

Statistics for 2020 to 2021 academic year show there are 138,414 students enrolled in Delaware, a decrease from the previous school year potentially due to the pandemic's impact.

There are more than 200 public schools in Delaware, including magnet, public charter and vocational technical institutions.

13. Hawaii ($65,409)

States That Pay Public School Teachers Most
School years arguably mark the most important moment in any young person's life as they profound impact academic progress monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Founded in 1840, the Pacific Ocean state is the only in the U.S. to have a sole, unified, state-wide public school system.

Proponents of Hawaii's policy argue this allows funding, staffing and facilities to be more equally distributed.

12. Rhode Island ($67,323)

In keeping with its New England neighbours, Rhode Island has a long tradition of providing high quality public school education.

And although Rhode Island's metrics fall a little lower than Massachusetts, the state's most prestigious school districts perform on par with the best districts in the U.S.

11. Oregon ($67,685)

The most up to date data states there are more than 1,200 public K-12 schools organized into 197 school districts inside Oregon.

Commencing this new year, a new House Bill has ensured all public schools must provide period products free to elementary, middle and high school students.

10. Illinois ($68,305)

The U.S. state in 2013 had 2,072,880 students enrolled in 4,266 schools spread between 1,070 school districts.

There were 135,701 teachers in the public schools, equating to approximately one teacher for every 15 students; an improvement to the national average of 1:16.

9. Pennsylvania ($70,258)

Public School Teachers
An excellent teacher lies att the beating heart of every good public school Getty Images

Pennsylvania's 500 school districts reportedly range in size significantly, from approximately 200 students to more than 140,000 students.

Although the state sits near the middle among the 50 states in terms of public K-12 education, Pennsylvania boasts dozens of highly rated school districts.

8. Alaska ($70,877)

The public schools across this state are considered among the very best in the U.S., while the Anchorage School District's average SAT and ACT college entrance exam scores are consistently rated higher than the national average.

The most recent data available (2013) shows this sparsely populated state possessed 131,489 students enrolled in a total of 509 schools in 54 school districts.

7. Washington ($72,965)

The state is acknowledged as being one of America's best performing in public education and is home to some particularly high-performing school districts.

On average Washington spent $9,672 per pupil in 2013 (the latest data available) ranking the state the 29th highest in the U.S.

6. Maryland ($73,444)

Maryland is rated as one the top performing U.S. states in terms of K-12 academics, with well-funded school districts and above-average proficiency rates in math and reading.

The state came in with the best educational quality in the country, according to a 2021 study examining measuring 18 metrics including education quality and attainment.

5. New Jersey ($76,376)

Public School Teachers
While teaching is often described as a vocation, the lure of a good salary at a public school can count for a lot monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

New Jersey's public kindergarten through to high school system was in 2021 rated as among the best in the U.S.

All school educational staff in the state were in late August ordered to be vaccinated, in an attempt to stop the spread of the delta variant of coronavirus.

4. Connecticut ($78,247)

There are an estimated 3,269 public and private PK-12 (kindergarten to 12th grade) schools in Connecticut.

The state's public school system is one of the best in the U.S., with Connecticut's students earning test scores significantly higher than national averages and graduating at almost 88 percent.

3. Massachusetts ($83,622)

From Harvard to MIT, Massachusetts is a state associated with some of the world's finest seats of higher education.

And the state's public schools are also highly rated, reflected in the relatively extremely high salary received by teachers.

2. California ($84,659)

California is the most populous state of the U.S. and has the most school students, with over 6.2 million in the 2005–06 school year, giving California more students in school than 36 states have in total population

While there are several methods of becoming a teacher in California, they are all required to hold a bachelor's degree.

The Education Data Partnership states more than 307,400 teachers work in the state's public-school classrooms in the years between 2018 and 2019.

1. New York ($87,543)

Public School Teachers pay
The average annual wage for a school teacher in the U.S. is calculated as $63,645, while the state of Mississippi ($45,192) is recorded as paying the least Ridofranz/Getty Images

Primary and secondary public school teachers in New York, the nation's largest school system, earn the most in the U.S.

More than 1.1 million students are taught in more than 1,700 public schools with a budget of nearly $25 billion

New York in August 2021 announced all public school teachers and other staffers will have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.