Poll finds sympathy for teachers


Parents feel so much sympathy for teachers that four out of five would support strikes for higher pay, according to a new poll by Phi Delta Kappa International.

The organization has been probing American attitudes toward schooling for half a century, releasing a peek at this year’s poll in July due to the urgency of the “disturbing” results: one in three parents fear for their child’s physical safety in school, a level of concern that hasn’t been seen in two decades.

The latest results about teachers — two-thirds think they’re underpaid and most don’t want their own kids entering the profession, suggest the wave of criticism that heralded the No Child Left Behind era has lost some of its force. Teacher protests in several states this year underscored growing frustration with their working conditions.

Respondents also seemed more sympathetic to public schools, preferring to reform underformers rather than replace them. Even so, a majority, 55 percent, said the quality of public education today is worse than when they were students.

While PDK focused on public schools, another annual poll released last week produced results that suggest a growing interest in alternatives.

The Harvard-affiliated Education Next poll found growing support for charter schools after a sharp decline last year, wiht respondents revealing a growing partisan divide as Democrats were less supportive than Republicans. Charter schools are privately-run but publicly-funded and basically compete against traditional schools.

Likewise, Education Next respondents were more likely this year to support public funding of private schools through so-called vouchers than they were last year. But, like those responding to PDK, they also sympathized with traditional public schools, with more supporting teacher pay raises and school spending increases than in the prior year.

Last year, PDK took the rare step of polling enough Georgians to produce results for this state specifically. Residents here were more likely than respondents across the nation to say that racial and economic diversity in schools was important. Georgians were also more attracted to private schools and support of vouchers. There was no such Georgia focus this time.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Emory professor investigated for using racial epithet again
Emory professor investigated for using racial epithet again

A white Emory University law school professor is being investigated for using a racial epithet after saying the same word in a classroom discussion three months ago, officials said. “Professor Paul Zwier has been placed on administrative leave following reports that he recently repeated the same racial slur that he used in a classroom lecture...
‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ Black teachers benefit black kids
‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ Black teachers benefit black kids

Earlier this week, I shared this Marian Wright Edelman quote: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” That may explain why another study finds black students benefit from having black teachers. A Johns Hopkins working paper found that if a black student has one or two black teachers in elementary school, the student is...
Georgia university creates scholarship for hurricane-damaged counties
Georgia university creates scholarship for hurricane-damaged counties

Georgia Southwestern State University announced a program Monday that will offer scholarships starting next fall for first-year students in 56 southwest Georgia counties impacted by Hurricane Michael. “Hurricane Michael devastated much of our state, with Southwest Georgia taking the brunt of the impact,” said the university’s president...
Study reports how race matters in the classroom
Study reports how race matters in the classroom

Race matters in the classroom, with black students who are exposed to a black teacher doing better in school, a new research report says. The paper, titled “The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers,” found “causal evidence” that black students who were randomly assigned to a black teacher were more likely to graduate and to...
Cherokee students arrested on weapons charges
Cherokee students arrested on weapons charges

Cherokee County schools sent out a message to parents Monday saying that two River Ridge High School students were arrested on weapons charges. The students, whose names are not being disclosed due to privacy laws, were charged by the school police for possessing a weapon on a school campus. “They also will face severe administrative discipline...
More Stories