Texans Support Increased Teacher Pay, Oppose Vouchers, Poll Shows
Austin— Texans want lawmakers to prioritize teacher salaries and funding for public schools, according to a new poll by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), which also shows declining support for voucher programs that would shift taxpayer dollars into private schools.
When asked about the importance of key public education issues, the top two priorities were increasing teacher salaries, with 73% of Texans considering it extremely or very important, and additional funding for public schools, with 68% of respondents prioritizing it.
“Texans have spoken loud and clear,” said TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell. “They value public education and want lawmakers to prioritize our teachers and students by investing in salaries and allocating more money for school budgets.”
The poll, conducted by Perception Insight, a Texas-based opinion research firm, also reveals a downward trend in support for voucher programs. When asked about using public tax dollars to pay for private or religious schools, only 32% of respondents said that vouchers are important — the lowest ranking issue in the poll.
When specifically asked about their stance on vouchers, only 39% favored vouchers, marking a significant eight-point decrease since February 2023, when TASB conducted a similar poll during the regular legislative session. This increase in opposition against vouchers not only extends across party lines but also among a majority of white, Hispanic, and Black respondents in both urban and rural communities.
“The more Texans learn about vouchers, the less likely they are to support them,” Troxell said. “If an upcoming special session is announced, lawmakers should focus on what the voters care about, not private school subsidies that would weaken our public schools.”
The poll of 800 registered voters was conducted on behalf of TASB in June. Among those responding, 48% reported voting for Republicans most often, 35% indicated a preference for Democrats, and the remaining 17% said they vote independent of party.
“This poll is one of the most comprehensive looks at voter sentiment on vouchers that has been done this year,” said Marc DelSignore, president and owner of Perception Insight. “The broad representation of voters across all backgrounds and partisanship underscores the key finding that support for vouchers is decreasing among key voter subgroups when compared to other education issues like teacher salaries and funding."
When asked about the importance of education issues, poll respondents rated the following as extremely or very important:
- Increasing teacher salaries (73%)
- Additional funding for public schools (68%)
- Reducing local property taxes (54%)
- Public tax dollars to be used to pay for private or religious schools (32%)
Other major poll findings include:
- The Texans who ranked increased teacher salaries as the most important issue affecting public education included Republican voters (64%), Democratic voters (88%), and independent voters (70%).
- Among those polled, 76% of urban respondents and 69% of rural respondents said increasing teacher salaries was the most important.
- More than half of all voters (56%) said they are aware of the Legislature’s recent efforts to create a voucher program. Of those, 50% said what they have seen, read, or heard about vouchers has made them less likely to support the program. Only 34% said they are more likely to support vouchers.
About This Survey
The survey was a live operator and text-to-online poll that interviewed N= 800 registered voters across Texas June 24-28, 2023. The margin of error for the survey results is +/-3.4% at the 95% confidence level.
TASB is a nonprofit organization established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.4 million public school students.