Why are West Virginia teachers on strike? Take a look at their salaries

Updated 12:33 PM ET, Mon March 5, 2018

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(CNN)When it comes to teacher salaries, West Virginia ranks 48th in the nation, according to the National Education Association.

And it's one of only five states where teacher wages actually went down between 2015 and 2016.
That would explain why nearly 20,000 teachers and about 13,000 school service personnel are battling the state's government for better benefits and higher pay.
So how much does a teacher in West Virginia make? These are numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Take a look for yourself.
The numbers above don't include the salaries of the state's career and technical education, special education or pre-school teachers. The difference between their pay and the national average is equally stark.
Keep in mind that the numbers above are teachers' base salary. They don't include deductions, such as Social Security or teacher retirement accounts.