Arizona Republic readers who followed the teacher strike in West Virginia must be confused given the consistent drumbeat peddled here that Arizona has the worst teacher pay in the country.
While Arizona should attempt to drive additional dollars to classrooms to pay teachers competitive wages, there’s no reason for advocates to twist data to suggest we’re last in teacher pay.
Average teacher pay increased 4.4 percent last year to $48,372, per the state auditor general. In 2016, Arizona ranked 43rd in teacher pay, according to the National Education Association (NEA), whose data conforms rather well to local audit data. With the 4.4 percent increase, Arizona will likely jump a few positions when 2017 rankings are available.