Study ranks Hawaii as least teacher-friendly state in US

HONOLULU — A new study ranks Hawaii as the least teacher-friendly state in the nation.

The study published by WalletHub on Monday says that Hawaii teachers also get the lowest annual salary based on cost of living, about $24,000.


The study says the average salary for all teachers is about $30,000.

The Hawaii Teachers Association agrees with the study’s findings.

The association’s President Corey Rosenlee says because Hawaii teachers are the worst paid in the nation, about a third of Hawaii students don’t have a fully qualified teacher.


He says the percent of Hawaii teachers leaving the state for the mainland has gone up by 84 percent since 2010.

The Hawaii State Department of Education said in a statement that it is working with a national organization to compile comparative data and policy considerations.

  1. Sara Steiner-jackson September 25, 2018 8:36 am

    Shows you how important kids and education are for the State of Hawaii. Let’s dumb down everyone – just like the mainland??? Really???

  2. Vesparado September 25, 2018 8:36 am

    $500.00 a week, what the heck. Servers make twice that. Pay teachers more, maintain our public schools, and invest in higher paying tech jobs. Kids are the future and that future does not look bright to them right now. Yes that means higher taxes. The alternative is that college kids move away and our schools continue to crumble.

  3. KonaDude September 25, 2018 8:45 am

    How come when you look on the national education association website for salary averages you get a national average of around $ 38,000 and an average for Hawaii is $ 45,963? Sounds like we are about to get hit with another tax vote?

    1. naeporue September 25, 2018 11:16 am

      Probably it is because “Hawaii teachers also get the lowest annual salary based on cost of living” (read the last part of this sentence).

    2. Kona Brooke September 25, 2018 11:28 am

      That’s not what the article says. It says ….$24k based on cost of living…. That means Hawaii teachers have the purchasing power of $24k in an area with an “average cost of living”. Because it costs so much to live on Hawaii, a teacher’s salary provides less purchasing power than a teacher that may make less elewhere, but lives in a lower cost of living area.

      Also, zero of our property taxes pay teacher salaries – they are funded by tourism taxes, which is messed up. Hawaii should invest in our teachers and schools. Doing otherwise, will harm our community in the future!

    3. briala September 25, 2018 11:47 am

      The article is at best poorly phrased and at worst intentionally misleading by focusing on only one half of the story. As other responders have pointed out, the issue here is Hawaii’s high cost of living, which applies equally to both the teachers and the taxpayers paying them. Still, as KonaDude points out, it is the taxpayers who are being asked to bear both the higher cost of living and the higher than average salary. (and what is completely missing is the total compensation package which is a very significant factor.)

      That said my biggest issue here is with the nonsense phrase “annual salary based on cost of living” which is not how anyone says that. If you are intending to convey that you took an actual salary and re-computed it based on some other factor such as inflation, cost of living, or whatever, the word for that is “adjusted” which lets the reader know you are not reporting the actual salary paid. The language they used is confusing as evidence by the post below from someone who took it as a literal salary of $500 per week, which is not the case.

  4. Buds4All September 25, 2018 9:29 am

    Where is the incentive for students and teachers there is no real industry here which requires education and our elected officials do nothing to attract it.

  5. briala September 25, 2018 11:32 am

    WHT: If you are going to report on a story allegedly about teacher compensation, while failing to take into account a retirements & benefit package that is a major portion of that compensation and that those in few other professions can hope for, you should save yourself the minimal effort on “reporting” and just straight up run a free ad for the teacher’s union.

    As part of a more fully informative and balanced discussion, personally I’m receptive to the idea that teachers, particularly teachers early in their career, should have higher up-front salaries, and should not be saddled with an unfair requirement that they only get their full compensation for those early years if they also stick around for a couple decades after — including for some who may discover that it is not their calling after all. That’s an incentive that is good for neither the teacher nor the student.

    This could realistically be achieved by looking at the total very substantial funds that taxpayers are already contributing and delivering more of them earlier as the teacher is in the working phase of their career. I also feel they should receive their retirement benefits as they work, to be placed in an account they legally own, and not be placed at the whims of state pension programs that there is reason to fear will start to go bankrupt in the decades to come.

    1. Du Mhan Yhu September 25, 2018 3:33 pm

      WHT publish fake news??

      I am shocked, shocked!

    2. laakoc September 25, 2018 11:47 pm

      Teachers deserve a lot more – have you ever been in a classroom and seen what these teachers have to deal with? I went to my daughters school for shadow day and followed her around school for the day. I didn’t see more than 4 – 5 parents attending in my daughters classes. I found the majority of the students were extremely disrespectful to the teachers, not caring if there were other adults in the classroom. And before anyone blames the teachers for not taking control, I saw teachers repeatedly trying to bring order to the classroom, some successful, others not so much. I wouldn’t even be a teacher to these inconsiderate students for 48,000/year, union benefits included. Obviously the problem starts with lack of morals or respect taught in the home, along with lack of parent involvement. We all think teachers have it great with only having to work 9 months out of the year – go sit in your child’s classroom and see that these teachers have become more like babysitters rather and educators. And we wonder why the schools are so broken – look to the kids and their parents and stop wondering why we can’t get teachers to stay in the State of Hawaii.

      1. Kona Brooke September 26, 2018 9:27 am

        laakoc – You are TOTALLY right! SPOT ON! I am not a teacher, but our son goes to Kahakai part of every year and to Ralston Elementary in Golden, Colorado part of every year. I am SHOCKED at how disrespectful some kids are toward the teachers at Kahakai. The teachers deserve not only better pay, but much more support from the parents! There isnt enough money for me to do their jobs! They are saints.

        Parents should understand that the days of dropping your kids off at school for the teachers to “raise” them from 7:30 to 4:00 every day are OVER! They need to be better involved and actually participate in their kids’ education!! It all starts at home!

  6. onceawarrior September 25, 2018 12:24 pm

    i don’t know if the study is true or even pertinent to me.
    However, State of Hawaii Department heads are autocrats and run the business as they see fit to do.
    Moreover, i see some teachers give their all to see that students benefit from education.
    I don’t know if there is a WHT editorial commenting on education discrepancies or shortcomings.
    Are people or readers blindsided by autocrats or advocates?

  7. Du Mhan Yhu September 25, 2018 3:37 pm

    Not mentioned is the teachers union throwing roadblocks in front of academically qualified professionals leaving the work force and offering to work as part time teachers. I thought my 40 years of electrical engineering experience could provide the schools a knowledgeable science and mathematics part time teacher once I retired here.

    No way, a pile of requirements would have to be met.

    You offer expertise at low cost and they make it clear it is a union only job.

  8. LOL in Kona September 26, 2018 6:55 am

    we need more “once hired, can’t be fired” administrators to
    micromanage those unruly folk who pretend to “teach”!
    …remember; the admins have friends who need a job…
    ….and can’t get a real one even if there is no one who want actually do something!

  9. ghost September 27, 2018 7:46 am

    If you think teachers are treated badly now, just let them pass that constitutional amendment for an education tax on real estate. Property owners will want to punch a teacher in the face. Politicians buying union votes with unfunded retirement promises has led Illinois to utter bankruptcy. That is your future Hawaii.

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