Good news from a recent survey, 63 percent of Americans stated they have “a great deal or good amount” of trust in their local public school teachers while 54 percent rated their local public schools with an “A” or “B”.
The general trust in local public school teachers is a two percent increase from the 2018 poll, while the school grades are the highest in the 48-year history of PDK International’s Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools (PDK Poll).
When PDK International looked more closely at the survey responders, parents of public school students were more likely to trust teachers than adults who were not parents of public school students, with 72 percent of parents expressing trust and confidence in their local teachers.
Unfortunately, the trust in the overall nation’s K–12 public school system did not receive as high of rankings. Only 23 percent surveyed said they would give an “A” or “B” to public schools nationally, although this is higher than the 19 percent in the 2019 survey results. In essence, poll responders gave higher marks to their local teachers and schools compared to those outside their communities.
The Teaching Profession
While the survey showed responders had confidence in teachers, only 37 percent said they would want their child to become a teacher—a record low for this response.
Survey respondents gave a variety of reasons why they wouldn’t encourage their own child to become a teacher. The most common reasons included:
- Low salaries
- Poor benefits
- Lack of support
- Difficulties, stress, and demands of the job
- Lack of respect
- School violence
- Political discourse over sensitive topics
The survey shows the general public, including parents, understand how difficult the teaching profession is as well as the challenges public schools and teachers are facing.
Addressing Teacher Shortages
School districts must think creatively about how to market and brand themselves to better recruit and retain teachers. Increasing pay, support, and respect for teachers are challenges that need to be tackled to overcome the teacher shortage crisis.
Texas state government leaders have recognized the teacher staffing crisis and instructed the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to establish the Teacher Vacancy Task Force to address ongoing staffing challenges. Questions, comments, and ideas can be submitted on the TEA website.
Even the national government is getting involved in addressing the teacher shortage crisis and overall teaching profession. President Biden’s administration recently announced a partnership with several major job search companies to recruit and hire prospective teachers. In partnership with the Department of Education and the Department of Labor, ZipRecruiter, Handshake, and Indeed are implementing new actions to make it easier for school districts to recruit and hire teachers. Some of the actions include:
- Launching a new online portal dedicated to advertising school jobs
- Helping college students explore education careers
- Facilitating virtual job fairs
- Encouraging teacher-apprentice programs
- Advising districts to use federal funds to increase teacher pay
The teacher shortage crisis will only be resolved if it’s addressed by all entities: districts, states, and the national government. Increasing pay, benefits, support, safety, and respect for the teaching profession are important steps to reach the goal.
For more specific information on teacher recruitment and retention strategies see the following articles:
- Creative Teacher Recruitment Strategies
- Using Stay Interviews to Increase Employee Retention
- 7 Ways to Qualify an Uncertified Teacher
Cheryl Hoover joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with staffing and HR reviews, training, and other HR projects. During Hoover’s public school career, she served as an executive director of curriculum and principal leadership, executive director of human resources, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.
Hoover earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and obtained her master’s degree from Texas State University. She is a certified PHR.
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