Here's How Much Teachers Make in Each State

iStock
iStock

According to the U.S. Department of Education, an average public school teacher is responsible for a class size of 16 pupils. That’s a lot of young minds to supervise, a task that requires considerable commitment, knowledge, and patience. But not all teacher positions are proving financially viable. A recent New York Times report indicated that insufficient wages in Arizona and other states have led to teacher shortages and walkouts.

To better understand educator salaries, the financial website howmuch.com compiled a series of maps that illustrate how compensation varies by state and according to the learning level of students. Data was taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s how the numbers compare.

A map indicates elementary school teacher salaries according to state

A map indicates middle school teacher salaries according to state

A map indicates high school teacher salaries according to state

For many states, there isn’t a large variation in wages between elementary, middle, and high school teacher salaries; for others, including Oregon, shifting from elementary to middle school can provide a nearly $8000 boost in income. There is also a tremendous shift in wages depending on region. Teachers in New York earn an average $81,613 annually, with Alaska, Connecticut, and California trailing closely behind. That’s significantly more than the national average of $49,000.

While these maps offer some intriguing insight into the financial landscape of teaching, curing shortages in some areas may not simply be a matter of raising salaries. Some critics have argued that teachers are often thrust into classrooms without proper training, leading to frustration and burnout. Fewer college students are majoring in education than in years past, down to 4.1 percent from a high of 10 percent in the 1970s.

[h/t howmuch]

This Interactive Map Lets You Listen to the Sounds of Mysterious ‘Phantom Islands’

iStock
iStock

We like to think we’ve already discovered everything there is to discover on Earth, but have we really? Throughout the course of history, a number of islands have been spotted and documented by early explorers, only to never be seen again. These territories are known as “phantom islands,” but as artist Andrew Pekler notes, their existence has never been verified.

In exploring the legends surrounding these elusive—and perhaps imaginary—islands, Pekler created an online “sonic atlas” of what these places may very well sound like. His work was commissioned by French museum Jeu de Paume for the exhibition “Fourth Worlds: Imaginary Ethnography in Music and Sound.”

“Poised somewhere between cartographical fact and maritime fiction, they haunted seafarers’ maps for hundreds of years, inspiring legends, fantasies, and counterfactual histories,” Pekler says of the phantom islands in an online description of the project.

Viewers can use their computer's mouse to navigate the map and zoom in on any islands that seem particularly intriguing. You can also enter “cruise mode” to be taken on an audio tour of all the phantom islands documented by Pekler. A brief history is given for each island, and some of them are pretty spooky.

One phantom island in the Gulf of Mexico, Bermeja, first appeared on maps in the 1530s but wasn’t seen again after the 16th century, according to research by Pekler and his team. The Mexican government sent a survey vessel to try to find it in 1997, but when nothing was uncovered, a few Mexican senators claimed America’s CIA may have destroyed it in a bid to lay claim to the territory and secure control over offshore oil and gas fields. Not long after, one of the senators who demanded further investigation was driving in his car when he was run off the road and killed by an unknown assailant, which spawned a number of conspiracy theories.

These stories are only made more chilling by the haunting chimes, bizarre bird calls, and underwater sounds that accompany them. To see it for yourself, check out Pekler’s website.

This Website Allows You to See the Traditional Indigenous Territories and Languages in Your Region

Native Land
Native Land

Within North America and many other regions colonized by Europeans, the indigenous territorial borders that once divided the land have largely disappeared. Though non-Native people might learn about the particular groups that once lived in their immediate area in school, most of us aren’t aware of the exact geography of which areas were traditionally occupied by which groups across the U.S. and the world. A mapping project called Native Land is aiming to change that, as Atlas Obscura reports.

The interactive site was created by Canadian mapping specialist Victor Temprano, who grew up within the territory of the Okanagan people in British Columbia. It features several different ways to explore the boundaries of indigenous history: through territory, language, and historic treaties. Each of the colorful blobs that represent the approximate boundaries of each territory, language, or treaty contains a link that lets you further explore the area, linking out to tribes’ websites, government information about particular treaties, and more.

The map allows you to see the huge diversity of indigenous people whose history has often been erased and forgotten, and the overlaps between tribes and languages in different areas. While the map doesn't yet tackle the entire world, it has a wealth of information on Canada, the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia, and some places in South America and Greenland.

Colored overlays showing territory and language boundaries in the western U.S. and Canada
Traditional territories and languages in the western U.S. and Canada
Native Land

A map of the Northeastern U.S. showing traditional territories and languages
Traditional territory and language boundaries in the northeastern U.S.
Native Land

Temprano doesn’t claim Native Land is a definitive guide—or even a complete one—and welcomes any community feedback on the content presented. He told Atlas Obscura that he has gotten thousands of emails over the past few years suggesting changes, and has worked to incorporate that information into the map.

“I’ve learned that the idea of ‘traditional territory’ is actually very slippery. It can mean a strongly defined official boundary (Squamish nation, for instance), a general sense of land familiarity or habitation (some Métis people), a historically inhabited area, or it can be shorthand for how people identify themselves,” he writes on the Native Land blog. “Above all, I’ve tried to make the territory layer about self-identification. Whenever people feel they or their peoples are not represented, I’ve attempted to add them … So approach the layer with caution, and don’t treat it as an academic set of truths—if you can help it. It’s a good place to get started, but it’s really about you taking the initiative to learn more and think carefully about these questions.”

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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