NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Six in ten Americans (60%) see teaching as a prestigious occupation, but clearly they don't think our educators' salaries are in line with this status: six in ten also believe that teachers in the United States are paid too little (60%) and that too little money is spent nationally on public schools (61%).
Looking locally, majorities are also unsatisfied with teacher salaries and public school spending in their communities. Fifty-four percent of Americans feel teachers in their local area are paid too little, on par with where it was in 2009 and back up eight points from 2012's dip to 46%. Meanwhile, half of adults (51%) feel that too little money is spent on the public schools in their community (same as the 51% in 2009 and similar to the 50% in 2012).
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,273 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 15 and 20, 2015. Full results of the study, including data tables, can be found here.
With a Presidential election on the horizon, education is working its way up as a major issue under voter consideration. Seven in ten Democrats believe teachers in the United States are paid too little (71%), while nearly six in ten Independents (58%) and just under half of Republicans (49%) feel the same. Roughly three in ten Republicans (31%) and one-fourth of Independents (26%) feel that teachers are paid the right amount nationally, while only 17% of Democrats feel this way.
As for public school spending, similar patterns appear.
- Democrats: 71% too little & 19% about the right amount
- Independents: 59% & 17%, respectively
- Republicans: 51% & 23%, respectively
Regional differences when looking locally
Two-thirds in the South, and majorities in the Midwest and West, feel that teachers in their local areas are paid too little (67%, 53%, & 54%, respectively). On the other hand, a plurality of Americans in the East believes their communities' teachers are paid about the right amount (41%, with 37% believing they're paid too little).
Looking at local public school spending, over half of Americans in the South, Midwest, and West, and a plurality of those in the East, believe their communities are spending too little.
- South: 57% too little & 25% about the right amount
- West: 53% & 24%, respectively
- Midwest: 51% & 25%, respectively
- East: 42% & 34%, respectively
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This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between July 15 and 20, 2015 among 2,273 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
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The Harris Poll® #62, October 13, 2015
By Hannah Pollack, Harris Poll Research Analyst
About The Harris Poll®
Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, please visit our new website, TheHarrisPoll.com.
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SOURCE The Harris Poll