2018 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitude Toward the Public Schools

The PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools is the most trusted source of public opinion about K-12 education. This poll queried U.S. adults about a range of issues confronting education, including teacher pay and the teaching profession, school security, options for improving the public schools, perceptions of opportunities for different groups of children, college affordability, the value of a college degree, and school schedules. The survey is based on a random representative sample of 1,042 adults with an oversample to 515 parents of school-age children in May 2018.

Among key findings in this report is the remarkable support for improving teacher salaries. Two-thirds of Americans say teacher pay in their community is too low; just 6% say it’s too high. An overwhelming 73% say they would support teachers in their community if they went on strike for higher salaries, including about 6 in 10 Republicans.

Even as most Americans continue to say they have high trust and confidence in teachers, 54% of Americans say they would not want their child to become a public school teacher, a majority for the first time in a question initially asked in 1969. Poor pay and benefits are at the top of the list of reasons why, cited by 3 in 10 of those who’d rather not see their child go into teaching. In a related result, funding remains the most commonly cited problem facing the public schools, a result that’s been consistent since the early 2000s.

For full poll results, see