Teachers are unappreciated and poorly paid, according to a survey

Teacher in class

Two-thirds of American parents think teachers are poorly paid, and 73 percent say they would support teachers if they went on strike in search of a better salary. 

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A poll of American parents reveals that there is growing confidence and support for teachers at all levels of education; however, they think teaching is an underestimated and poorly paid career.

The 50th PDK Poll, which since 1969 investigates Americans' attitudes toward public schools, questioned 1042 adults about the challenges facing education, including teachers' salaries and the teaching profession.

Two-thirds of Americans think teachers are poorly paid, and 73 percent of parents say they would support teachers if they went on strike in search of a better salary. The perception that teaching is a poorly paid profession is growing in recent years; in 1969 only 32 percent of respondents believed that a teacher's salary was low.

As things stand, 54 percent of Americans say they would not want their son to become a public school teacher, with reduced salaries and benefits being the main reasons for this attitude. In contrast, in 2009 more than 70 percent of families wanted their children to pursue the teaching profession.

What do the parents say?

Researchers gathered open responses about perceptions of the teaching profession. These were some of the statements:

  • It’s dangerous being a teacher.
  • Low salary, low social respect, and physically exhausting.
  • The teachers get treated like crap if kids aren’t up to par on the testing scores. They also don’t get paid enough. It’s sad we pay more to guys running back and forth on courts and fields than we do to the ones we entrust with our children.
  • The reason there are not always quality teachers in public schools is because of the way they are paid and treated. I would not want my future child to be treated poorly or paid less than they deserve for a job that is as difficult as teaching children.
  • Because the students run the classroom. The teachers cannot force them to pay attention or do what they want them to do. Students that don’t want to pay attention make it hard for the children that want to learn.

Although these results represent only US parents attitudes, it seems that the opinion that teaching is underestimated and poorly paid is global.

The challenges that world economies will face demand powerful education systems. In future automated scenarios, teachers play a crucial role. It will be worthwhile to reevaluate this profession and dignify it with fair wages and adequate work environments.