The PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward Public Schools is a well-known research instrument. Conducted annually, it allows educators and policy makers to track public opinion about one of this nation’s most important institutions, its public schools.
Key findings of this year’s poll include:
- Americans rate their public school teachers more highly now than they have in the past. More than 70% of Americans say they have trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching in public schools.
- This year’s PDK/Gallup poll shows that Americans believe the key to good schools is high-quality teachers.
- Consistent with past findings, Americans believe teacher salaries should be based on multiple factors, including advanced degrees, experience, and the principal’s evaluations of the teacher. Students’ scores on standardized tests were rated as least important.
- Americans polled, in significant numbers, said the lack of financial support is the biggest problem facing public schools.
- Parents continue to give very high grades to the school that their oldest child attends, while many of those surveyed said their negative perception of the nation’s schools is based on media stories.
Of concern, half of those polled said they did not feel teachers unions helped public education. There is an obvious disconnect between the public’s opinion of ”teachers” and “teachers unions”. We need to work to show that our union is made up of teachers!