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I really need to get out of Texas. It will be at least 2 years before I can go because of the crazy housing market. When I move, it will need to be to a 4-bedroom house with a yard for the dogs (and hopefully chickens) and at least 2 bedrooms need to be on 1st floor (preferably 1-story) because one of my kids has physical disabilities and often needs a cane and I'm not that great with stairs either because of my knees. My teaching salary needs to be enough to be able to swing a realistic mortgage. I think I should be able to swing at least a $50k downpayment after selling my house here. I'm 53, so the mortgage would need to be reasonable for a 15-year fixed term loan.

I know that a lot of y'all are also teachers. I need to find a place to move to where teacher salaries aren't horrifically bad compared to the housing market and local cost of living and it has to be LGBT friendly and not super hot. One of my kids has medical issues that cause major problems with the heat and they pass out when it gets too hot. Texas gets way too hot and they are trapped in the house from June through August.

My Texas certifications are 7-12 science, 7-12 math, EC-12 special education, and ESL. I don't want to go back into Special Education again. In the past 6 years I have taught IPC, chemistry, physics, forensics, and Algebra I intervention. I am a GSA sponsor and I have coached the science team for the past three years and we made it to state my first year and regionals this year. The competition was cancelled last year. I teach at a Title I school and while my district is awful, my campus is awesome.

I have an MS in Physics and I have taught at a community college before (dream job for me, really), but I know that full-time teaching positions at community colleges are few and far between, in Texas at least. There is usually only one full-time teacher in each department and everybody else is part-time. I left that job because it was part-time with no benefits and you usually had to work there as a part-time teacher for at least 10 years before being under consideration for the full-time position.

My kids also need to be able to get jobs that have benefits. My oldest has to buy her insurance on the exchange because Office Max doesn't offer insurance or full-time hours to anybody except managers. My middle will be able to get insurance through HEB when she ages off my ex-husband's insurance later this year because HEB treats their people right. My youngest is on my ex-husband's insurance because teacher insurance is abysmal. They are looking for an office or data entry job, something that isn't physically demanding because of their physical limitations.

Where is a good place to look for a new job that is LGBT friendly, not horribly hot (pretty much all of the south is knocked out by this), and isn't as horrible to teachers as Texas (low bar since Texas government absolutely hates and despises teachers)? I would love to also have it be a racially and culturally diverse area or at least near to a racially and culturally diverse area, but I know that is much harder to find.

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It sounds like somewhere in the Midwest might work for you given your criteria. Although I don’t live there now, the area around La Crosse, WI might work for you and there would be possibilities for teaching in WI, MN (right across the river) or IA (a bit further away) depending on how far you are willing to commute.  (I don’t know where you live in TX, but traffic is not an issue with these commutes at all, although winter weather can sometimes cause problems).The city has three colleges and two major medical centers and would be LGTB friendly, although perhaps not as racially and culturally diverse as you desire. The twin cities of MN would be much more diverse, but I’m not sure about housing prices relative to teacher’s salaries there. College towns in general in the Midwest might be good places to explore, although some can be expensive for housing if they are very desirable places to live.

Edited by Frances
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I think northern -mid Ohio and Indiana. Spring comes sooner than Michigan, but it isn't swampy hot in the summer. That said stay well north of the Ohio River valley in order to have the milder summer. Eastern PA especially anything at a higher elevation. West Virginia is a low cost of living, but I am not sure about teacher salaries.

My area of Michigan, just south of the shore of Lake Huron/Bay area, is very reasonable COL. With your qualifications my guess would be roughly $65,000 for PS. Community College pays SQUAT to instructors. Our winters routinely get down to 0 degrees though most days are in the twenties, and summers will have a stretch of 90 degree days with 85% humidity. But most days are 75-80 ish, and a little lower humidity. Just know that the commutes in winter are snowy and icy.

Now word of warning. In the Midwest and Great Lakes Region, most suburban and rural areas are not necessarily LGBT friendly. The cities and larger college towns are but of course the costs of houses are higher. So Kalamazoo, home of WMU and Kalamazoo College are very LGBT friendly, but houses cost a lot more than say Bay City, MI which is pretty darn conservative outside the city limits, and just tolerant inside them.

Ann Arbor and Brighton would meet a lot of your needs, but unfortunately might be pricey. They do pay teachers better there. East Lansing around MSU, super inclusive. Housing again a bit pricey. Rural areas just don't pay. But there are some sleeper communities close in to WMU, CMU, Battle Creek Community College (one of the better paying CC's), Spring Arbor University, Adrian College, Albion College, and Hillsdale which are cheaper, and you could commute in without a long drive.

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The added benefit of being in a sleeper community off I 94, is a direct route to hospitals in Kalamazoo and of course U of MI medical center, and the children's hospitals. Detroit has some wonderful hospitals, Henry Ford, Beaumont, Children's at Wayne State U, Mercy...but I really don't think housing would be reasonably prices enough to make it on a teacher's salary. 

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Parts (emphasis on "parts") of PA might fit your needs. From what I know (which, granted, it's been awhile since I've known this), PA pays it's teachers quite well, and I believe some of the college towns in less-populated areas may be more tolerant. Perhaps we'll get a PA-WTMer to weigh in here.

I'd also second looking at parts of WI and MN. The Driftless area is very pretty and tends to swing politically. Winona, MN is a college town (close to LaCrosse, both of which are on the northern part of the Driftless area) which might work, and at least you have the advantage of being in MN, which is supportive of LGTBQ. Organic Valley is HQ'd in Lafarge, WI and there is a large folk school in nearby Viroqua, both of which support a fairly crunchy-ish and more tolerant community (both of those towns are also in the Driftless area). That area is also quite pretty and not very far from Madison, which is a liberal city (the suburbs on the outer reaches of Madison might also be affordable enough for what you're looking for). Winters are harsh, but there far less harsh/lengthy than when I was a kid, and while summers can have stretches of hot & humid, they're far better than TX summers.

For me, I would lean more toward MN & WI, over MI, although I agree with Faith in that I think you potentially could find a place in MI. It's just that there are large swaths of MI which really aren't going to be much better than TX (the same could be said of any of these states, but IME / IMO, MN & WI are less scary than MI.....but that's just IMO).

Parts of NY state might be worth looking into as well, in the smaller cities and university towns. Not sure how far out you're willing to move.

For research, here's an article that lists several different web sites to use to find your best place to live (note: I haven't used these sites yet).  You'll need to compare openings, salaries, taxes, housing prices (& property tax rates), local politics, etc.

And the best of luck! As hard as it is, I think you're making the right decision. I am a fairly tolerant person, but the level of extremism that is on the rise / being implemented in various places has changed hubby's & I's plans for moving as well.

 

ETA: One other area to look at - if you can handle sh*t-a$$ cold, that is - is Duluth, MN. It's beautiful, politically progressive, affordable, a decent-sized city, etc. But it can get to 30-below+ in winter, so........

Edited by Happy2BaMom
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15 minutes ago, Happy2BaMom said:

 

For me, I would lean more toward MN & WI, over MI, although I agree with Faith in that I think you potentially could find a place in MI. It's just that there are large swaths of MI which really aren't going to be much better than TX (the same could be said of any of these states, but IME / IMO, MN & WI are less scary than MI.....but that's just IMO).

 

You are nor wrong!

Michigan currently has an led, anti-teacher, anti-education, sentiment through large regions of it so IF you move here you have to be very wise about where you land, says MOI who did not do enough research and under duress of elderly relatives moved back here and lived to regret that decision very, very much. And the rural areas are just 100% ruled by what the local, often fundie, churches think so LGBT friendly is 100% not a thing. Minnesota is way better, but the winters are even more brutal than here. 

And again, Ohio and Indiana can be much of the same, but if you are wise about it, you can find a place that meets the criteria, and teacher pay in those areas will be better while not having cost prohibitive COL. Any state except say Illinois and western NY that is typically thought of as Midwest and Great Lakes Region has this wild dichotomy. The OP will have to carefully research it. Dayton, Ohio has a good reputation though I cannot remember if it is LGBT friendly or not. It is absolutely as far south in the area that I would consider going in terms of summer conditions.

There are parts of Colorado that would meet the teacher pay and LGBT friendly parts but I am not sure about COL. I think around Colorado Springs summers are pretty pleasant.

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Somewhere in the Albuquerque area might work, if that isn’t too hot, but I would avoid smaller towns in NM. If you already have a masters degree you can start as a level 3 teacher which would have a starting salary of around $60,000 I think. Housing is more costly than TX, but I don’t know specifics. Every place has problems, but a former co-worker choose to move to Abq from the Chicago area because she felt it was more accepting of her family -same sex couple with multi-racial adopted children.  Not sure about jobs with benefits, but my DD has to get insurance through our state marketplace, and there were a lot of affordable options. Most provided better benefits than the employer based insurance that I have. The only downside I saw was that the benefits are limited to in-state providers (only emergency care is covered out of state).

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I'd add on to Faith's post again by suggesting that you be more cautious about OH (& perhaps IN). OH is currently expanding it's school voucher or school choice or whatever they call it, all designed to undercut the public school system by encouraging parents to enroll their children in parochial schools, so that the kiddies can be properly Jesus-fied. The expansion was slipped through the legislative process at literally the 11:59 hour  on the last day of a legislative extension (this was in 2019), with zero public input, and it has been unpopular with many parents (not that the legislature cares). It's really a pretty bad bill and a bunch of school districts have banded together in order to sue the state over it, and that process has just begun. However, it turns out, the war on education and, especially, public education is happening in OH as well.

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Be aware that unless things have changed, TX is reciprocal with pretty much no one since they used their own exams. I had to do the Praxis exams and get it signed off by the local U that my education was equivalent in order to get full certification in TN. 

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Posted (edited)

I know I'll have to recertify anywhere I move to. Recertifying in science and math shouldn't be a problem (although I will have to study statistics, biology, and astronomy again) and I don't want to recertify in SpEd.

My 23yo is wanting us to move to Washington state north of Seattle, but I don't think we can afford the area. All of the kids will move with me. The medical issues that my 23yo and 25yo have necessitate being in or near a major city to have access to more doctors. Ehlers Danlos and MOG antibody disorder are not common and we'd have to be able to find doctors that have done more than just read a paragraph about them in a textbook.

 

Edited by AngieW in Texas
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Central NY has good teacher pay while still being affordable.  The average teacher pay in our school district is in the low 70s.  Houses are affordable, but school taxes are high.  (That's how teachers are paid well)  Winter is definitely gray and it does snow, but it doesn't last for 6 months like some people would have you believe.  Houston reached a lower temperature this year than Syracuse.  

Syracuse has a medical school and a large regional hospital.  Minimum wage in NY is $12 per hour.  The area is pretty with hills, lakes, and waterfalls.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I know I'll have to recertify anywhere I move to. Recertifying in science and math shouldn't be a problem (although I will have to study statistics, biology, and astronomy again) and I don't want to recertify in SpEd.

My 23yo is wanting us to move to Washington state north of Seattle, but I don't think we can afford the area. All of the kids will move with me. The medical issues that my 23yo and 25yo have necessitate being in or near a major city to have access to more doctors. Ehlers Danlos and MOG antibody disorder are not common and we'd have to be able to find doctors that have done more than just read a paragraph about them in a textbook.

MA has a high cost of living, but the teacher pay is pretty good, and science/math teachers especially are in short supply and so are in demand.  Your base salary automatically goes up if you have a Master's and extra coursework past that. We've got the doctors, and some great EDS specialists (all three of my kids have EDS).   Actually, bizarrely Rhode Island is where some of the best specialists are (PTs that literally wrote the book on PT for EDS, and the top specialist that deals with occult tethered cord - more common than you'd think with EDS - and fixing it makes a huge difference).  My kids travel to see them.  So, maybe RI?  Providence is a nice little city, and everything in RI is close to it, lol. Cost of living might be a bit less than MA as well.  Not sure about teacher salaries vs MA.  You could also live in MA close to the RI border, lol.  States are really small here!

Obviously both are liberal, LBGTQ friendly, and not too hot!

ETA: In MA, the minimum wage is $13.50/hr and is going up to $15 by 2023.  We also have MassHealth, which insures everyone who doesn't have insurance through their work.  I know people on it, and they seem to have good access to doctors.   I think about this because I have one kid in particular who I do worry about having full-time/benefited employment by 26...  (actually this kid is hoping to become an PT who specializes in EDS - this is how much it's helped them).

ETA2: And at least in metro Boston, you can get extra money tutoring math/science - good math/science tutors can charge over $100/hr.

Edited by Matryoshka
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I know I'll have to recertify anywhere I move to. Recertifying in science and math shouldn't be a problem (although I will have to study statistics, biology, and astronomy again) and I don't want to recertify in SpEd.

My 23yo is wanting us to move to Washington state north of Seattle, but I don't think we can afford the area. All of the kids will move with me. The medical issues that my 23yo and 25yo have necessitate being in or near a major city to have access to more doctors. Ehlers Danlos and MOG antibody disorder are not common and we'd have to be able to find doctors that have done more than just read a paragraph about them in a textbook.

 

I agree that it would be difficult to find affordable housing in the PNW, especially close to major population areas.
 

Despite being a city of only 50k, La Crosse, WI has two major medical centers that serve the surrounding tri-state area. The one not associated with the Mayo system actually has the better reputation locally. But the Mayo Clinic is only a little over an hour away and those whose insurance is with the Mayo System travel there for more advanced testing and treatment than is available at the local Mayo associated hospital and clinics. 

Edited by Frances
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1 hour ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I know I'll have to recertify anywhere I move to. Recertifying in science and math shouldn't be a problem (although I will have to study statistics, biology, and astronomy again) and I don't want to recertify in SpEd.

My 23yo is wanting us to move to Washington state north of Seattle, but I don't think we can afford the area. All of the kids will move with me. The medical issues that my 23yo and 25yo have necessitate being in or near a major city to have access to more doctors. Ehlers Danlos and MOG antibody disorder are not common and we'd have to be able to find doctors that have done more than just read a paragraph about them in a textbook.

 

What about one of the outlying areas around Portland? We lived in Newbury, Or at one point. It was mild summers short and barely even cold winters, gorgeous scenery, food was cheap because so much was grown locally, the university medical systems were good. We haven't been there for a long time so maybe the COL has gone up a lot though.

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1 hour ago, Matryoshka said:

MA has a high cost of living, but the teacher pay is pretty good, and science/math teachers especially are in short supply and so are in demand.  Your base salary automatically goes up if you have a Master's and extra coursework past that. We've got the doctors, and some great EDS specialists (all three of my kids have EDS).   Actually, bizarrely Rhode Island is where some of the best specialists are (PTs that literally wrote the book on PT for EDS, and the top specialist that deals with occult tethered cord - more common than you'd think with EDS - and fixing it makes a huge difference).  My kids travel to see them.  So, maybe RI?  Providence is a nice little city, and everything in RI is close to it, lol. Cost of living might be a bit less than MA as well.  Not sure about teacher salaries vs MA.  You could also live in MA close to the RI border, lol.  States are really small here!

Obviously both are liberal, LBGTQ friendly, and not too hot!

ETA: In MA, the minimum wage is $13.50/hr and is going up to $15 by 2023.  We also have MassHealth, which insures everyone who doesn't have insurance through their work.  I know people on it, and they seem to have good access to doctors.   I think about this because I have one kid in particular who I do worry about having full-time/benefited employment by 26...  (actually this kid is hoping to become an PT who specializes in EDS - this is how much it's helped them).

ETA2: And at least in metro Boston, you can get extra money tutoring math/science - good math/science tutors can charge over $100/hr.

I second all of this!

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1 hour ago, Faith-manor said:

What about one of the outlying areas around Portland? We lived in Newbury, Or at one point. It was mild summers short and barely even cold winters, gorgeous scenery, food was cheap because so much was grown locally, the university medical systems were good. We haven't been there for a long time so maybe the COL has gone up a lot though.

I think you might mean Newberg, Oregon? It is affordable, but not very LGBT friendly. It is more conservative. There are outlying areas of Portland that are more LGBT friendly that are also "affordable", but even still, prices are high out here and housing is hard to find. 

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Sorry, yes Newburg. When we were there our neighbors were a lovely lesbian couple with two of the best dogs in the world. We traded babysitting of our 2 year old daughter for dog sitting when they needed it. The whole neighborhood and town was not quite so conservative at that time. Things change I guess or maybe it has always been that way but we ran with a more progressive crowd. Most of our friends were either unaffiliated religiously or progressive Quakers.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Faith-manor said:

What about one of the outlying areas around Portland? We lived in Newbury, Or at one point. It was mild summers short and barely even cold winters, gorgeous scenery, food was cheap because so much was grown locally, the university medical systems were good. We haven't been there for a long time so maybe the COL has gone up a lot though.

There really is no cheap place to live in OR in terms of housing costs, at least not after the current run-up, unless you are selling in a very high housing cost area and moving here. Land use laws restrict growth everywhere and our residential building industry has never recovered workforce wise from the Great Recession. We are more under built than anywhere in the country. She would have to look carefully to see if there might be an affordable spot. On the flip side, our property taxes are generally lower than TX by quite a bit and the recent price surges won’t really affect them.

Edited by Frances
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On 5/20/2021 at 11:07 AM, Dmmetler said:

Be aware that unless things have changed, TX is reciprocal with pretty much no one since they used their own exams. I had to do the Praxis exams and get it signed off by the local U that my education was equivalent in order to get full certification in TN. 

When I moved to NM, it was easy to get a NM teaching license. Just had to turn in paperwork, get fingerprinted, and pay. No additional testing was required. That was 10 yrs ago, but I don’t think it has changed.

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Look into Roanoke, Virginia.  I'm not sure how well paid teachers are, but we have a low cost of living, a really nice climate, and while we aren't super progressive, it's fairly tolerant with pockets of real progressivism.  We're also a major medical area.  

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6 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

MA has a high cost of living, but the teacher pay is pretty good, and science/math teachers especially are in short supply and so are in demand.  Your base salary automatically goes up if you have a Master's and extra coursework past that. We've got the doctors, and some great EDS specialists (all three of my kids have EDS).   Actually, bizarrely Rhode Island is where some of the best specialists are (PTs that literally wrote the book on PT for EDS, and the top specialist that deals with occult tethered cord - more common than you'd think with EDS - and fixing it makes a huge difference).  My kids travel to see them.  So, maybe RI?  Providence is a nice little city, and everything in RI is close to it, lol. Cost of living might be a bit less than MA as well.  Not sure about teacher salaries vs MA.  You could also live in MA close to the RI border, lol.  States are really small here!

Obviously both are liberal, LBGTQ friendly, and not too hot!

ETA: In MA, the minimum wage is $13.50/hr and is going up to $15 by 2023.  We also have MassHealth, which insures everyone who doesn't have insurance through their work.  I know people on it, and they seem to have good access to doctors.   I think about this because I have one kid in particular who I do worry about having full-time/benefited employment by 26...  (actually this kid is hoping to become an PT who specializes in EDS - this is how much it's helped them).

ETA2: And at least in metro Boston, you can get extra money tutoring math/science - good math/science tutors can charge over $100/hr.

I third all of this !!! Massachusetts is the only place I can think of that meets all your criteria.

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I was going to say Twin Cities, MN too. It is a large sprawling urban area with several "rings" of suburbs. LGBTQ friendly area. Here is info from one of the bigger districts in the area as for salary/years of experience. They have lots of postings. https://www.ahschools.us/cms/lib/MN01909485/Centricity/domain/492/terms and conditions/Teachers 20190701.pdf

Housing in the metro is hot and moving fast right now, maybe renting first would be an option. Lots of medical options, between the U of M and Mayo, specialists are near by. 

Happy to answer any specific questions you have. 

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2 hours ago, Kalmia said:

I third all of this !!! Massachusetts is the only place I can think of that meets all your criteria.

I'll 4th Mass, but throw in a vote for VT too. Lots of teachers are retiring here and there are definitely jobs. Not too hot in the summer and a slightly lower cost of living than Mass.

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I can't speak to teachers' pay in other parts of the country, but one thing I would consider in your situation, in addtion to current pay, is the retirement plan.  Whether you have or have not been paying into social security and whether the place you would go participates in social security could make a significant difference.  Also, if there is a state defined benefit retirement plan, often the formulars greatly favor longevity of employment compared to a defined contribution plan.  It does not sound as if you would be in a new distsrict 20+ years, so I would be sure to  factor that into the equation.

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1 minute ago, Bootsie said:

I can't speak to teachers' pay in other parts of the country, but one thing I would consider in your situation, in addtion to current pay, is the retirement plan.  Whether you have or have not been paying into social security and whether the place you would go participates in social security could make a significant difference.  Also, if there is a state defined benefit retirement plan, often the formulars greatly favor longevity of employment compared to a defined contribution plan.  It does not sound as if you would be in a new distsrict 20+ years, so I would be sure to  factor that into the equation.

This is something that I really worry about. I basically have no social security at all. I haven't contributed much into social security and I will be able to collect very little of anything I do put in because of the federal windfall provision. My district (like most in Texas) does NOT pay into social security. It only pays into the Teacher Retirement System and that is heavily loaded towards the back end so I would lose substantially by not being in the system for at least 20 years. I was hsing for 18 years and only worked part-time for a few of those years. I just started teaching 7 years ago, so that would mean that I would need to stay in the TRS system for another 13 years (to age 66) and I really don't want to be in Texas that long. The Texas legislature is actively trying to kill people by cutting unemployment benefits, cutting health care, cutting education, and allowing anybody over 21yo to open-carry guns without even requiring any kind of permit (and businesses can't just post a sign prohibiting guns, they have to actually confront the gun-wielder directly and verbally to be able to make them leave). Now they've made it illegal for teachers to talk about racism and they've made it illegal for schools or any state or local government to require masks. I know that I have to be here for the next 2-3 years at least to let the housing and job markets settle down, but then I need to get my family out of here to some place that is safer.

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On 5/22/2021 at 7:32 AM, AngieW in Texas said:

I know I'll have to recertify anywhere I move to. Recertifying in science and math shouldn't be a problem (although I will have to study statistics, biology, and astronomy again) and I don't want to recertify in SpEd.

My 23yo is wanting us to move to Washington state north of Seattle, but I don't think we can afford the area. All of the kids will move with me. The medical issues that my 23yo and 25yo have necessitate being in or near a major city to have access to more doctors. Ehlers Danlos and MOG antibody disorder are not common and we'd have to be able to find doctors that have done more than just read a paragraph about them in a textbook.

 

How flexible are you on home ownership?  I really think you're going to have a difficult time buying a house almost anywhere with the number of bedrooms you are looking at on a 15 year fixed mortgage.  We couldn't do that, even when we lived in the Midwest.  You could do a modest, older townhome, maybe, but nothing single family.

If you are looking at the west coast, you are also looking at communities that have a much greater range of supports for working class and middle class families.  You have medicaid expansion. You have state sponsored insurance that is affordable. You have sliding scale housing that is actually pretty decent.  You have public transportation. You have greater access to medical and education for your kids.  We moved to the west coast from south Texas, in part because our kids needed things.  In Washington state, you don't have income tax, but you have sales tax. In Oregon, you have income tax, but you don't have sales tax.  Housing is flat out more expensive than Texas....though honestly Austin and some of the bigger cities have gotten super insane lately.  It's the same as anywhere...you can live further out and find cheaper housing.  Some of those areas have public transport lines so you can drive in a bit, park, and ride.  All I'm saying is, don't discount it entirely. Really dig in and see what could work out. Median salaries for teachers here are $75k a year in WA compared to $56k in Texas---the extra $19k/year can make up for a bit in housing costs.  If you're dealing with medical on top of that, then that can really change some of the dynamics.

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39 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Median salaries for teachers here are $75k a year in WA compared to $56k in Texas---the extra $19k/year can make up for a bit in housing costs.  If you're dealing with medical on top of that, then that can really change some of the dynamics.

Teacher salaries are even higher here.  $79K average, and I found this listing of the top 100 paying districts, where the average is $80-100K.  

https://www.masslive.com/news/erry-2018/10/8dfafc8c8b7791/here-are-the-massachusetts-sch.html#:~:text=The average salary for a,pay under %2450%2C000%2C on average.

And the median housing price is over $100K less than Seattle...

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On 5/22/2021 at 4:02 PM, City Mouse said:

When I moved to NM, it was easy to get a NM teaching license. Just had to turn in paperwork, get fingerprinted, and pay. No additional testing was required. That was 10 yrs ago, but I don’t think it has changed.

NM (and maybe Oklahoma) were the only exceptions at the time we moved out of TX. Pretty much everywhere else required at least some hoops. TN was in the middle, where they required re-testing, but really didn't require other coursework. In comparison, when we've looked at moving from TN, transferring my license to most states would be easy, because I have PRAXIS scores in hand. Having said that, I also have to recertify every few years in TN, while my TX license is lifetime.

 

By the way, I wouldn't suggest TN. It's not a particularly teacher-friendly state. Having said that, most of the state is relatively low COL, and teacher salaries are decent, but the same things I hated about teaching in TX are also pretty prominent here, and COVID has just made that more obvious. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/22/2021 at 10:41 PM, AngieW in Texas said:

This is something that I really worry about. I basically have no social security at all. I haven't contributed much into social security and I will be able to collect very little of anything I do put in because of the federal windfall provision. My district (like most in Texas) does NOT pay into social security. It only pays into the Teacher Retirement System and that is heavily loaded towards the back end so I would lose substantially by not being in the system for at least 20 years. I was hsing for 18 years and only worked part-time for a few of those years. I just started teaching 7 years ago, so that would mean that I would need to stay in the TRS system for another 13 years (to age 66) and I really don't want to be in Texas that long. The Texas legislature is actively trying to kill people by cutting unemployment benefits, cutting health care, cutting education, and allowing anybody over 21yo to open-carry guns without even requiring any kind of permit (and businesses can't just post a sign prohibiting guns, they have to actually confront the gun-wielder directly and verbally to be able to make them leave). Now they've made it illegal for teachers to talk about racism and they've made it illegal for schools or any state or local government to require masks. I know that I have to be here for the next 2-3 years at least to let the housing and job markets settle down, but then I need to get my family out of here to some place that is safer.

I recommend not waiting, for a couple of reasons....1) you need to start retirement saving somewhere else & the sooner the better - you may be able to work long enough yet to get some pension; 2) the job & housing markets may or may not calm down in 2 years, it may take longer; 3) your mental and emotional health and your stress level are already screaming at you to leave, hanging out for another couple years just waiting is really (IMHO) not a healthy choice.

Just. Do. It.

You've gotten some great advice on this thread. I'd definitely checkout the Winona/LaCrosse area (& possibly outlying Madison, perhaps Duluth) - housing prices are going to be better than almost anywhere else and you've got two states to compare for salaries, retirement, taxes. I'd also look at central NY & MA (sounds like they're good). Possibly look at college towns in PA.

I agree with PrarieWind that there are smaller towns in OR/WA that might be better for housing costs, just be aware of the huge divide in those states - once you cross the Cascade Mountains, the eastern side of both of those states is pretty much like Texas culturally & politically (albeit their effects are blunted due to the rest of the state). From your description, you have to find a swing state or a blue state in a more-northerly area. Draw the line there.

But, really, I don't see an advantage in waiting. Yes, the housing market is hot, but it's hot everywhere, so it should help you with selling as well. And science / math teachers are in high demand in many places (we had looked at moving to MN a few years ago & hubby was going to transition from military to teaching & MN had an express pathway for science/math teachers at that time, and that was for career-changers - I'm sure current teachers would have even more support, even if licensure doesn't directly transfer). I'm sure at least some of the other states listed in this thread are the same.

 

Edited by Happy2BaMom
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Gently, I do wonder why you don't just go now.  Really.

My family's safety OR money?  I'm as practical a person as anyone, but it's only money.  The school year is all but over.  You might be able to sell your house pretty quickly, and if all of your kids are going with you, and they're adults who can work in some capacity, you should be able to limp along until you get housing sorted.  It will work out.  Waiting two years with my family in what I feel is an unsafe place?  No way.

... and, I'm not arguing with you, because this isn't a politics board, but some of the stuff you wrote above about the TX legislature's recent actions isn't strictly true, and your family is probably much safer than you think.  That said, you might be happier elsewhere.

If you really feel unsafe, you should go ASAP.

 

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I do think Midwest would be a good fit for you.  In particular outlying Twin Cities, Madison, Milwaukee areas.  Madison is like 90 minutes from Milwaukee, so areas lying between might be good for lower cost options with still good access to amenities.  Madison is just a couple hours from Chicago too but has a world class University and medical there.  

I was going to say one thing about the Twin Cities that is different than like Seattle or Denver area is that the suburbs are not constrained by mountains or oceans.  So the suburbs keep creeping outwards. If you don't mind being a bit out, you can check out those further out suburbs or western Wisconsin.  There are very expensive areas, but there are much more affordable areas too.  

I have a kid in the Madison/Milwaukee area, we travel that area regularly and I we live in the Twin Cities (and know Duluth, Winona, LaCrosse, Rochester areas pretty well too.  I'd personally look at Duluth before Winona/LaCrosse though the winter can be MORE there for sure).  Feel free to PM me if you want.  

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Yeah, I'm going to agree with FuzzyCatz & add on a bit...in that, I think you need to be on the outskirts of a city (whether mid-sized or larger), or one of the smaller cities that typically ring a large city, so the areas around the Twin Cities, Madison, maybe Milwaukee. Duluth if you can stand the cold. Or, of course, some of the other cities in other states already mentioned.

BTW, regardless of where you go, assuming you are headed north, I highly recommend renting through your first winter. Lots of people think they can handle northern winters.....and lots of people change their minds after experiencing one.

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