First-Of-Its-Kind Poll Reveals Texans Trust Teachers, and Have Concerns About School Testing and Funding

February 18, 2020 |

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Inaugural “PDK of Texas” poll highlights statewide perceptions on key public education topics

AUSTIN, TX (February 18, 2020) — A new statewide poll on Texans’ attitudes toward public education found they appreciate teachers, but have concerns about testing and the lack of funding for schools. 

The poll, commissioned by the non-profit Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, found that 77 percent of Texans express trust and confidence in their teachers, much higher than the 61 percent of Americans polled on the same question. 

The Foundation modeled the poll after the longstanding national PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Langer Research Associates, PDK’s polling firm and the producer of the ongoing ABC News/Washington Post poll for ABC, conducted the research. 

“We’re pleased to be the first organization in the country to commit to an annual statewide poll about public education issues,” Foundation President Shari Albright said. “The work of PDK is the most respected in the field, providing insight into the perceptions and trends in Americans’ attitudes toward public education. We thought it important to provide this service to Texans on an annual basis, both to understand the challenges and help find ways to improve our public schools.”

“Kudos to Raise Your Hand Texas for conducting this poll,”  said Dr. Joshua Starr, Chief Executive Officer of PDK International. “Like most Americans, Texans want more funding for schools, support their teachers, have concerns about testing, and want more attention paid to student social-emotional competencies. And, while there are some different perspectives based on income, geography, and race, there’s no doubt that Texans, like most Americans, support their local schools and want to see an increased investment in them.” 

Other major findings show that, while teachers are important to school quality, Texans believe they are undervalued. The poll also found:

  • 93 percent of Texans say teacher quality is extremely or very important in overall school quality
  • 71 percent see teachers as undervalued in society
  • 70 percent say teacher pay is too low 
  • 60 percent are not confident that state standardized tests effectively measure how well a student is learning
  • 59 percent believe their community’s public schools have too little money 

When rating public schools as a whole, the more closely connected respondents are to a school, the higher they rate it, a trend reflected in the national research. The poll found 68 percent of Texas parents would give their oldest child’s campus an A or B grade. Overall, 48 percent of Texas gave the schools in their community an A or B grade, higher than the 44 percent of Americans who give their community’s schools the same high marks.

“This poll reflects positive sentiment toward our public schools,” Albright said. “The challenge is in ensuring schools have the resources they need to educate every child, starting with a well-trained teacher in every classroom and a strong leader on every campus. We must also ensure students and schools are assessed fairly. Though we still have work to do, I am confident Texas is moving in the right direction.”

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About the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation

The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation develops and strengthens school leaders and teachers, engages families in the educational experience, and advances classroom learning with innovative instructional practices to benefit all students. For more information, visit RYHTFoundation.org.

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