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NEA Praises West Virginia Agreement Between State And Educators

NEA President lauds ‘a salary that recognizes… professionalism and dignity, as well as prioritizing attracting and retaining the best caring and competent educators

WASHINGTON - March 02, 2018 -

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement reacting to the agreement reached that will allow educators to return to campuses on Thursday:

“I am so proud of West Virginia educators and the West Virginia Education Association, without whom this agreement would not have happened. They have stood in solidarity to demand a salary that recognizes their professionalism and dignity, and prioritizes attracting and retaining the best caring and competent educators for West Virginia students. For decades, West Virginia has dwelled near the bottom of the 50 states in educator compensation rankings, currently ranked 48th. With more than 720 teacher vacancies in the state, this agreement will allow teachers to return to their students and attract new educators that will develop the high quality workforce necessary to compete in a global economy. This is a great day for West Virginia’s students and its future.”

A student’s greatest asset is a highly qualified, skilled teacher in the classroom. Attracting and retaining these professionals hinge on competitive pay, yet a West Virginia public school teacher earns 25 percent less than non-teacher college graduates in the state. During the 1990s, education was once 57 percent of the West Virginia state budget. Today, it sits at 43.7 percent. The average salary for a West Virginia teacher dropped from 30th in the nation in 1993 to 48th in the nation in 2007 and remains at 48th today. There are “well over 700” certified teaching vacancies in the state. Salary and benefits are the fundamental reason the state has failed to attract and retain qualified teachers.


The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at


Ramona Oliver