Hot off the presses…. Released today, The Harris Poll finds that while we respect our teachers (we actually think their profession is very prestigious, according to a Harris Poll from August 2008), we don’t reward them adequately. More than 1 in 2 U.S. adults believe that in their community…
- public school teachers are paid too little (53%), and
- the money in general being spent on public schools is too low (51%).
And, Southerners are especially critical of the money dedicated to teachers and schools in their area.
Contrast this with forty years ago. In 1965, when we first asked these questions, the majority of adults felt that public school funding (56%) and teacher pay (56%) were just fine.
So, what has changed in the past 4 decades? We are certainly no less reliant on public school education, but somehow we are more critical of the way we compensate. Perhaps we feel that salaries for teachers haven’t risen (equally or fairly) the way they have for other professions. Or, perhaps we value education differently today than we did then. Or, maybe we feel like the public education system in the United States has missed a step in staying competitive with other countries, and we aren’t attracting top candidates.
I agree with the majority on this today, but I feel like I would have been in the minority forty years ago. Why do you suppose the unfavorable trend?