Poll Reveals Majority of Americans Have Trust and Confidence in Public School Teachers
August 31, 2011 - More than 70 percent of Americans say they have trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching children in our nation’s public schools. This sentiment of support was revealed recently in the 43 rd annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll. The results of the poll further revealed that 69% percent of Americans would assign a letter grade of an A or B to the teachers in their local community, if such grades were to be given. Such marks of public opinion have increased from 50% in 1984, the year a similar poll was conducted in our nation.
This vote of confidence for America’s teachers comes at a time when media attention on teachers is overwhelmingly perceived as negative. According to the PDK/Gallup poll, 68% of Americans reported hearing more bad stories than good stories about teachers in the news media. Such a reality makes America’s positive sentiments about teachers even more meaningful.
As higher education programs prepare the majority of America’s public school teachers, the results of this survey offer implicit confirmation to the work of such programs. As a teacher preparation program, Union University’s School of Education offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, ranging from initial licensure to a terminal degree. The Executive Dean of Union University’s School of Education, Dr. Tom Rosebrough, comments, “The poll results are very encouraging, especially as our teachers all have been subjected to such negative media in the U.S. about their competence in the classroom. I think the poll reflects Americans’ opinions about their own schools, not schools in a general sense. At Union we teach our teachers that courage and persistence are vital in their profession because they will have good days and not-so-good days with their students and their parents. Preparation for teaching includes not just deep knowledge and great pedagogy skills, but also a resiliency of spirit in the face of criticism.”
The findings of the 2011 PDK/Gallup poll are based on slightly more than 1,000 completed interviews, which were conducted in June 2011. The survey addressed a variety of educational topics, asking for the public’s opinion about teacher unions, technology use, and retention, among other related educational topics. The full results of the survey can be viewed online at:
Related Web Resource: http://www.pdkintl.org/poll/docs/pdkpoll43_2011.pdf