A closer look at the WalletHub data

Ah, WalletHub, the obscure website that North Carolina liberals visit once a year to “prove” that Republicans hate public school teachers.

Lady Liberty obtained and shared WalletHub source data for their “2015’s Best and Worst States for Teachers” ranking.  As you may have heard from public school advocacy groups and the media, WalletHub youngster Richie Bernardo ranked North Carolina 50th in the nation for teachers.

The first six data points are used to determine the “Job Opportunity & Competition” portion.  The next seven are used for the “Academic & Work Environment” portion.  North Carolina ranked 50th on the former and 34th on the latter, which combined magically to produced an overall rank of 50 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.  (The decision to compare states to a city is a curious one.)

But it is pretty apparent that North Carolina fares reasonably well on most indicators, considering that a number of recent efforts to raise teacher pay are not represented in the data used (because data collection understandably lags).  The most interesting aspect of the ranking is that North Carolina earned a rank of 50 out of 51 despite that fact that only two of the 13 indicators come anywhere close to the bottom.

Simply put, Mr. Bernardo’s methodology, which is not explained in detail on the WalletHub website, produces rankings that are counterintuitive.  Any cursory examination of the data itself would suggest that North Carolina ranks higher than 50th.

In other words, it “does not pass the smell test.”

Data Point

NC Results

NC Rank



Average Starting Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living) $31,894 40 2012-2013 & 2014 National Education Association
Median Annual Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living) $49,516 39 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center
Teachers’ Income Growth Potential 1.38 31 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Projected Number of Teachers per 1,000 Students by Year 2022 N/A N/A 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & CENSUS
Unemployment Rate 6.1% 26 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries 10.1% 49 2014-2015 National Education Association
WalletHub “School Systems” Ranking  N/A 21 2015 WalletHub
Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio 15.40 33 2012-2013 National Education Association
Safest Schools 13.4% 43 2011-2012 National Education Association
WalletHub “Underprivileged Children” Ranking  N/A 35 2015 WalletHub
Public School Spending per Student $8,620 46 2014-15 National Education Association
Average Commute Time 23.7 24 2013 CENSUS
WalletHub “Working Moms” Ranking  N/A 43 2015 WalletHub
Overall Rank  N/A 50 N/A N/A


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