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New PDK poll shows far-reaching support for teacher strikes, higher pay

78 percent of public school parents say they would support teachers in their own communities if they went on strike for higher pay


WASHINGTON - August 28, 2018 -

The 50th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools reinforced the public’s support of educators from Arizona to West Virginia who united this past spring to advocate for fair pay, increased school funding, and the legislative investment that students need to succeed.

“The results of this year’s PDK Poll are not surprising,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. "The public understands and supports educators in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and beyond. Educators’ decision to take a stand for their students and for themselves as trusted professionals inspires not only me, but everyone. They are calling out those in power, demanding that they provide teachers with the resources we need to set students off toward a great future."

According to the poll, 78 percent of public school parents say they would support teachers in their own communities if they went on strike for higher pay. Two-thirds of Americans say teachers’ salaries are too low.

"Public school teachers deserve professional pay for professional work," said Eskelsen García. "Low teacher pay comes at a very high cost. To recruit and retain talented teachers for the long-haul we have to pay them what they’re worth. In the end, it’s the students who pay the price for low teacher salaries.”
Key findings of the 47th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools include:

n  The majority of the public says the biggest problem facing schools is still the lack of funding.

n  Nearly eight in 10 Americans prefer improving the existing public school system rather than finding an alternative approach. That number is higher than in any year since the question was first asked two decades ago.

n  On the issue of educational equity, 60 percent prefer spending more on students who need extra support rather than spending the same amount on every student.

n  The public says lower-income, rural, and black and Hispanic students have fewer opportunities. Many Americans also say schools expect less from these students.

n  There is broad support for proposals to make college more affordable. Three-quarters of Americans support free tuition at community college—up sharply over the past few years. Sixty-eight percent support increasing federal funding to help students pay tuition at four-year colleges. At the same time, a little more than half of parents say they are at least somewhat likely to be able to pay for college for their own kids.

The poll also found support for allowing teachers and other school staff to carry guns to be low—67 percent of parents don’t want their child in a classroom where the teacher is armed, and 63 percent generally oppose allowing teachers and staff to carry guns. A NEA member poll conducted this past spring found that educators strongly reject arming educators and other school faculty.

PDK, a global network of education professionals, has conducted an annual poll with Gallup every year since 1969. The poll serves as an opportunity for parents, educators and legislators to assess public opinion about public schools.

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                                            Additional poll data are available at www.pdkpoll.org
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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

 

CONTACT:
Celeste F. Busser, Senior Press Officer
National Education Association
1201 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Cfbusser@nea.org
202-262-0589