Above photo by Alejandro Forero Cuervo
What makes a city a good place to live for teachers?
Data analytics firm GoodCall has its answers. It recently created a list of best cities for teachers--689 cities total--rating some obvious factors like job availability, cost of living, average teacher pay relative to other salaries in the area. It also gathers data on things like local amenities, number of restaurants per capita, and violent crime rates.
A clear pattern emerges in GoodCall’s study. All cities in its top ten are small to mid-size suburbs or exurbs, most of them in the Midwest. Five of them are suburbs of Chicago. But the top city to live in if you’re a teacher in 2017, according to GoodCall, is Bentonville, Arkansas.
Bentonville is a town of roughly 50,000 in northwest Arkansas, just south of the Missouri border. It’s most well-known for being the birthplace and now global headquarters of the Wal Mart Corporation.
Though you may be surprised at it’s place as ‘Best City for Teachers 2017’, Jayna Moffit isn’t. She’s a standout math teacher at Lincoln Junior High in Bentonville. She’s not a Bentonville native, she moved there only after completing a stint as a Teach For America teacher in the Mississippi Delta in the early 2000s. (No Wrong Answers, incidentally, is sponsored by Teach For America Kansas City, which has no association with Jayna.)
She’s lived in Bentonville now more than 15 years. Her husband is a police officer in the town, and her daughter just graduated from Bentonville High. Who better than to get an insight into what’s apparently the best city for teachers than Jayna Moffit? Here’s our conversation.