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Rankings of the States 2014 and Estimates of School Statistics 2015

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Rankings & Estimates: Rankings of the States 2014 and Estimates of School Statistics 2015 ( PDF, 868 KB, 130 pgs.)

(released: March 2015)



In fall 2013, U.S. public school enrollment was 49,568,215, up 0.3 percent over
fall 2012. The greatest growth in enrollment from fall 2012 to fall 2013 was in:

  • Nevada (2.4%);
  • Utah (2.0%);
  • Idaho (1.6%);
  • Colorado (1.6%).

Fifteen states experienced declines in student enrollment in fall 2013. The greatest declines were in:

  • Michigan (-3.8%);
  • Rhode Island (-2.3%);
  • New Hampshire (-1.2%);
  • Vermont (-1.0%) (Tables B-2, B-3).

Classroom Teachers:

Changes in the number of staff employed in education institutions as well as their levels of compensation reflect trends in enrollment; changes in the economy; and specific state, local, and national program priorities. There were 3,121,926 teachers in 2013-14 (Table C-5). The average number of students per teacher increased from 15.8 in 2012-13 to 15.9 in 2013-14.

This ratio of students to teachers must not be confused with “Average Class Size,” which is the number of students assigned to a classroom for instructional purposes. Class size and student-teacher ratios are very different concepts and cannot be used interchangeably. According to recent studies, the difference between student-teacher ratio and average class size in K-3 is 9 or 10 students (Sharp 2002). Therefore, an elementary school with a schoolwide student-teacher ratio of 16:1 in kindergarten through third grade would typically have an average class size of 25 or 26 students in those same grades.

The states with the highest number of students enrolled per teacher in public elementary and secondary schools in fall 2013 were:

  • Michigan (22.6):
  • Utah (22.5);
  • Oregon (21.5);
  • California (21.3);
  • Idaho (19.8).

States with the lowest student-teacher ratios were:

  • Vermont (10.0);
  • New Jersey (11.8);
  • New Hampshire (11.9);
  • North Dakota (12.1);
  • Maine (12.1).

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia had average student-teacher ratios below the U.S. average (15.9) (Table C-6).

Males comprised 23.8 percent of U.S. public school teachers in 2014. States with the largest percentage of male faculty were:

  • Kansas (33.1%)
  • Oregon (30.6%)
  • Vermont (30.2%).

States with the lowest percentage of male faculty:

  • Virginia (17.3%);
  • Mississippi (18.3%); 
  • Louisiana (18.4%);
  • South Carolina (18.8%).

The median was 24.2 percent (Table C-8).

Classroom Teacher Salaries:

The U.S. average public school teacher salary for 2013-14 was $56,610. State average public school teacher salaries ranged from those in New York ($76,409) and Massachusetts ($73,195) at the high end to South Dakota ($40,023), Mississippi ($42,187), and Idaho ($44,465) at the low end (Table C-11).

Over the decade from 2003-04 to 2013-14, in constant dollars, average salaries for public school teachers decreased by 3.5 percent. Wyoming (13.6%), New York (9.9%), North Dakota (8.4%), Massachusetts (8.1%), and Iowa (7.6%) had the largest real increases in salaries during that 10-year period.

Adjusting for inflation, thirty-four states saw real declines in average teacher salaries over those years. States with average salaries declining 6.5 percent or more:

  • North Carolina (-17.4%);
  • Indiana (-12.9%);
  • Idaho (-12.0%);
  • Illinois (-12.0%);
  • Colorado (-9.1%);
  • Arizona (-9.0%);
  • Georgia (-8.7%);
  • Mississippi (-7.5%);
  • Washington (-7.5%);
  • West Virginia; (-7.0%);
  • Utah (-7.0%);
  • South Carolina (-6.7%);
  • Florida (-6.6%);
  • Ohio (-6.6%). (Table C-14).

Not adjusted for inflation, the U.S. average one-year change in public school teacher salaries from 2012-13 to 2013-14 was 1.0%. The largest one-year decrease was in Louisiana (-4.5%) and the largest one-year increase was in Vermont (4.1%) (Table C-15).

Expenditures per Student:

The U.S. average per student expenditure for public elementary and secondary schools in 2013-14 fall enrollment was $11,355. States with the highest per student expenditures:

  • Vermont ($21,263);
  • New York ($20,428);
  • New Jersey ($20,117);
  • Alaska ($19,244)
  • Rhode Island ($18,627).

Arizona ($7,143), Utah ($7,476), Oklahoma ($7,925), Indiana ($8,135), and North Carolina ($8,632) had the lowest per student expenditures (Table H-11).

General Financial Resources:

Total personal income data indicate the overall economic activity within a specific geographic area. It is the aggregate income from all sources received by persons residing in a state, and it has a significant effect on the total revenue or financial resources available to government jurisdictions through taxation. Personal income largely drives state tax systems; sales and income tax collections respond rapidly to its changes. Between 2011 and 2012, U.S. total personal income increased by 5.2 percent to yield $281,819 per student enrolled (Tables D-2, D-7). In contrast, combined federal, state, and local school revenue per K-12 student increased by 0.4 percent that year. For 2013-14, revenue per K-12 student increased 2.2 percent (Tables F-1, F-2).

School Revenues:

School funding continues to be state oriented, although the federal share increased somewhat in recent years. Between school years 2012-13 and 2013-14, the local share of K-12 public education funding increased from 43.8 to 44 percent (Tables F-7, F-8) and the state share remained at roughly 46.4 percent (Tables F-9, F-10). The federal share decreased to 9.6 percent (Tables F-11, F-12). Throughout the past 10 years, state and local governments have each provided between 43 and 48 percent of the total revenues.


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