A strong majority of Americans say teachers are underpaid—and even more support their right to strike for higher pay. Those results come from the annual PDK poll of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools.
The poll asked about teacher pay in two different ways, and got similar results on both: Two-thirds said teacher salaries are too low, and when people were asked specifically about a starting salary of $39,000 (which is the national average according to the National Education Association), 65 percent said that was too low. Even 55 percent of conservatives and rural residents said teacher salaries are too low. The overall number dissatisfied with teacher pay is a high since 1969.
And in a year when teachers in several states have gone on strike or taken other action organizing for higher pay, 73 percent of the poll respondents said they would support teachers striking for higher pay in their communities. Among public school parents, the number rose to 78 percent. A majority of Republicans would support teacher strikes, too.
State legislators might want to take these numbers into account the next time teachers press for higher pay and increased school funding.
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