- A majority of adults support teachers over their curriculum decisions and boosting their pay, according to a recent PDK poll. Some 66% of those surveyed said teachers should have a “great deal” of influence over what’s taught in public schools — surpassing local school boards (56%), local residents (41%) and the governor or state legislature (33%).
- The PDK poll noted 73% of adults viewed educators as “undervalued,” while 66% said they are “underpaid,” and 58% said they are “overworked.” To that end, a majority of all adults — 67% — said they back increasing teacher salaries in their community by raising property taxes.
- Additionally, the poll found the proportion of adults supporting four-day school weeks more than doubled in the last two decades, with those in favor of the change jumping from 25% to 53% between 2003 and 2023.
The latest PDK poll, which surveyed about 1,000 adults, provides some hope that perhaps public perception of teachers is on the upswing.
Teacher shortages are now a top concern among voters, too, according to a recent National Education Association poll. As staffing problems in classrooms are exacerbated in some districts and states, public conversations are elevating and demonstrating the need for teachers, especially as a new school year gets underway.
It’s crucial to continue discussing what is needed to support teachers and public education, said David Schuler, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, in a statement about the polling results. “The time is now for our schools, districts and communities to take the courage to scale up their support that these educators deserve.”
The PDK poll also shows that despite the ongoing trend of state legislators and governors proposing policies aimed at regulating school operations, climate or curriculum, most adults feel comfortable with teachers having the strongest influence over some of those decisions, such as classroom lessons.
But throughout PDK’s findings there are instances where partisan differences emerge. For example, 83% of Democrats said they supported boosting teacher pay through increased property taxes compared to 48% of Republicans. Democrats were also more likely to support public school teachers in their curriculum decisions at 75%, compared to 60% of Republicans.