Pay disparity is one reason why Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year, decided to move to Texas, where teachers are paid significantly more. Last year he told NPR, "It feels good because I know I'm doing the right thing for my family, but it also feels sad."
At the time Sheehan and his wife Kaysi, also a public school teacher, brought in $3,600 a month. "After all bills are paid, we're sitting on about $400-450 per month," he explains.
When the Sheehan family had their first child, they had to reassess their finances. "Sure, life can be done on $400, $450 a month, but I would challenge others out there to buy diapers, groceries and all the things that you need for a family of three on $400," he says.
The average salary for a high school teacher in Oklahoma is $42,460. In Texas, the average salary is $55,500. Both of the Sheehans were offered positions that included $40,000 raises.
According to the BLS, Oklahoma pays its teachers less than any other state. Here are the five highest and lowest-paying states for high school teachers: