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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Public supports raising teacher pay

Support for raising teacher pay is up this year, especially in states like Oklahoma where teachers have gone on strike or walked out.

Public support for raising teacher pay is climbing, reports the 2018 Education Next survey.

Two-thirds of those surveyed favored pay raises for teachers. When told about average teacher pay in their state, 49 percent said teachers should earn more, a 13 percentage point increase from last year.

Support for increasing teacher pay was strongest in states that experienced teacher strikes or walkouts this year, such as Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Not surprisingly, there’s a sharp split in opinion about the Janus case: While 65 percent of teachers who are union members support agency fee rules, only 16 percent of non-union teachers say non-members should be required to pay fees. The survey found other differences:

Nonunion members are at least 20 percentage points more likely to support annual testing in reading and math, charter schools, and universal school vouchers. Union members are at least 20 percentage points more likely to support increasing school spending, higher teacher salaries and giving teachers tenure.

Support for charter schools, which dropped last year, is back up.  Forty-four percent favor charter schools, while 35 percent are opposed.  “The uptick is concentrated almost entirely among Republicans,” EdNext noted.

The survey also find rising support for school vouchers for all students:  54 percent support universal vouchers, while 31 percent are opposed.  Most black and Latino respondents — but only 35 percent of whites — backed vouchers for low-income families.

Only 27 percent of those surveyed support federal regulation to eliminate racial disparities in school discipline. However support is up since 2017 among Democrats. Among black respondents, support remained at 42 percent, while disapproval rose sharply from 23 percent to 35 percent.

By 57 percent to 18 percent, “the public is overwhelmingly opposed to considering race in K–12 school assignment decisions as part of efforts to increase school diversity,” the survey found. However, the gap is narrowing slightly.

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