What Teachers Want

In the PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, teachers speak out on pay, funding, and feeling valued.
August 2019, Volume 42, Issue 12

After looking into the poll findings, NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE, issued a statement following the release of the report “Frustration in the Schools: Teachers speak out on pay, funding, and feeling valued.”

“Principals partner with teachers to improve student achievement, close the achievement gap, and ensure all students have access to a pathway to success,” said Franks. “They depend on teacher leaders to step into leadership roles and help them create a positive school culture. But the frustrations expressed in the 51st annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools demonstrate more work needs to be done to ensure a strong and sustainable educator pipeline for teachers and school leaders alike. Teachers’ concerns with pay, school funding, and feeling valued by the community are contributing to 50 percent of public school teachers nationally seriously considering leaving the profession in the past few years and more than half not wanting their child to follow them into the profession.”

According to poll results:

  • 60 percent of teachers say they’re unfairly paid;
  • 75 percent of teachers say the schools in their community are underfunded; and
  • 74 percent of parents say they would support a teacher strike for higher pay in their community.

The poll also highlighted key points that show where teachers stand on several important issues in education. For example, nearly all teachers said a better way to assess a school’s quality is to look at the improvements of students over time instead of focusing just on the percentage of students who pass standardized tests.

Another hot topic in education is discipline in schools. According to the poll, about half of parents and two-thirds of parents say school discipline is not strict enough, citing a desire for mediation over detention or suspension.

“This crisis in the teaching profession—which stems in part from school underfunding—is poised to severely impact the educator pipeline and student learning,” said Franks. “As we consider policy positions and advocate for education funding, we should listen to the voices of teachers (75 percent), parents (61 percent) and adults (60 percent) who agree that schools are underfunded.”

Read the full poll results.

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