A majority of Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, say they would be willing to pay more taxes to give teachers higher salaries. And even higher percentages of people surveyed—77 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Independents and Democrats—think higher raises should go to teachers who improve student achievement, according to recent polling results from the Teaching Commission.
A New York City-based nonprofit organization working to improve teacher quality, the commission conducted two polls late last year: one of 807 adults, including an oversampling of public school parents, and one of 533 public school teachers.
The poll results for members of the public also show that 62 percent of respondents believe teacher education programs should be more rigorous, and that 82 percent favor requiring every new teacher to have a mentor.
“The message is getting through: Now is the time to transform the teaching profession to upgrade the skills of all our students and close achievement gaps,” Louis V. Gerstner Jr., the chairman of the commission and a former chairman and chief executive officer of IBM Corp., said in a statement. “And it’s not only the general public that’s ready for reform. Many teachers know better training, more mentoring, modern incentives, and meaningful rewards for excellence are long overdue.”
The poll, released in April, also shows significant support—more than three-quarters of both sample groups—for paying teachers higher salaries if they are willing to work in low-income schools.
The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points for the public survey and 4.3 percentage points for the teacher survey.