Most Americans Believe Teachers Deserve Better Pay

The number of parents who want their kids to become teachers has also reached a record low.

Two in three Americans believe public school teachers are underpaid, according to a newly released poll that evaluates the nation's attitudes towards educational issues. 

 According to the PDK poll, a record 78 percent of people said they want to improve the existing public school system and would choose reform over "finding an alternative to the existing system."

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The PDK Poll, which dates back to 1969, takes an annual survey of the country's views towards public school. This year's edition, conducted in May, asked participants about school spending, college costs, teacher salaries, and other topical issues — and its findings highlighted some contradictory opinions.

According to the results, most Americans believe that public school teachers deserve better wages and say they would support educators who went on strike to fight for higher salaries. But the same poll also discovered that the percentage of parents who want their kids to become a teacher has reached a new low, at only 46 percent. 

This is the first time in the poll's history that the majority of Americans said they would prefer to have their children not become an educator, citing reasons like low pay and benefits. The results are especially eye-opening now, as The Washington Post reports that public schools are already experiencing a shortage of teachers.

"Public school teaching as a career path has lost much of its allure," the PDK summary explains. 

The findings come at a time when both teachers and public citizens are becoming increasingly vocal about the need to invest more in the current education system. Only a few short months ago, thousands of educators in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina conducted walkouts or went on strike for higher pay, increased funding, and in some cases, protection for their pensions.

Some school districts, like those in Southwest Washington, have yet to see any progress in their negotiations, even as the first day of school quickly approaches.

While teachers battle for improvement at their respective schools, it seems the public is still on their side. Though fewer Americans are supporting teaching careers for their children, the majority (61 percent) still say they trust and confide in the public school system's educators — and even more are hoping for change.

According to the PDK poll, a record 78 percent of people said they want to improve the existing public school system and would choose reform over "finding an alternative to the existing system."

Cover image via Chris Allan / Shutterstock.com.

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