Americans have strong confidence in their public school teachers, new data from 2014 PDK/Gallup poll finds

Part II of the report from the 46th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll on the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released today revealing that a majority of Americans (77 percent) continue to trust and have confidence in their public school teachers. Further, about six of 10 American public school parents agree that their child’s school supports higher levels of well-being, with over half saying their child’s school encourages their child to build strong relationships with friends and family members.

“Americans continue to voice support for our public schools and teachers and rightfully so,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director National School Boards Association (NSBA). “To help prepare students for future success we need to provide public schools and teachers with more support and less barriers.”

Recognizing the vital role of teachers in their children’s education, most Americans want their teachers to pass board certification in addition to being licensed, and want entrance requirements for teacher preparation programs to be more rigorous. When it comes to teacher evaluation, 77 percent of Americans want teachers evaluated in order to help improve their ability.  Sixty-one percent oppose using student standardized test scores to evaluate teachers.

Despite the fact that more high school graduates are going on to college than not, the poll found that surprisingly fewer Americans (less than 50 percent) believe that a college education is very important. That percentage is down from 75 percent in 2010. It’s possible that the public’s view toward college is tied to concerns about the ability to pay for college or their perceptions of the college or career readiness of their children. Only 69 percent of parents said it was somewhat or very likely that they would be able to pay for college for their oldest child (down from 77 percent in 2010).  And according to the poll, only 31 percent of Americans agree that high school graduates are ready for college. Thirteen percent believe that high school graduates are ready for the work world.

In August, Gentzel joined William “Bill” J. Bushaw, Chief Executive Officer, PDK International, Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Gallup Education, and a cadre of esteemed experts to co-present on Part I of the poll’s findings. View here video highlights from the presentation and NSBA’s overview of the findings in Part I.

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