A National Priority: Americans Speak on Teacher Quality

June 2002

A vast majority of Americans support hiring more teachers and providing them with:

  • better salaries
  • improved working conditions
  • more professional training, even if doing so means higher taxes

The one thing the American public is not willing to accept is lower standards in order to get more teachers into the classrooms.

The findings were among those revealed by A National Priority: Americans Speak on Teacher Quality, a study commissioned by ETS and conducted by Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican pollster Robert Teeter.

The second annual nationwide education poll reveals Americans' attitudes on education reform and the quality of the nation's teaching force. Among the survey's key findings:

  • A majority of Americans say the K–12 education system needs either major changes or a complete overhaul.
  • The public is willing to endorse almost any proposal to improve the education experience for the nation's students.
  • Teachers, school leaders and even parents agree that a lack of parental involvement in K–12 education is contributing to the problems in the nation's schools.
  • The public and education professionals say teacher quality is less a problem of recruitment and more of retention.

The report and excerpts are available for downloading:

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Americans Speak