Texas education survey shows strong support for public schools | TCTA
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Texas education survey shows strong support for public schools

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Only 39% of Texans want their child to become a public school teacher, coming as a surprise to very few teachers. That sentiment doesn't indicate a lack of support, but more likely an understanding of the challenges teachers face, as 76% of school parents would give their local teachers a grade of A or B. While the level of support from non-parents is lower, 60% would still grade their local teachers similarly.

These and other insights into public support for Texas schools were included in a report released Tuesday by the Charles Butt Foundation, titled "Strong Support, Clear Challenges."

Eighty-nine percent of Texas parents are somewhat or very satisfied with the quality of their child's education — higher than the national average of 80%. The same percentage would support increasing state funding for public schools to increase teacher salaries, and the factors used to increase pay over a teacher's career that are the most popular among Texans are years of experience, inflation, and level of education — notably, not standardized test scores.

Here are more takeaways from the survey:

  • Around 80% of Texans think the average salary for a 10-year teacher — $57,676 — is too low, and 74% think the 20-year average of $63,093 is too low for experienced teachers. But only 44% say the average starting salary of $51,628 is too low.
  • Eighty-four percent of Texas said that a teacher positively affected their life, including by motivating them to work hard, teaching them how to think critically, and/or boosting their self-esteem. Thirty-five percent say a teacher or coach got them interested in their current career.
  • On the less positive side, two-thirds of parents are concerned that their child faces at least a moderate risk of some form of bullying, harassment or discrimination at school.
  • A slight majority of Texans (53%) believe their community is at least at a moderate risk of experiencing a school shooting, with the highest levels of concern (64%) in the South and Southwest, followed by the Houston area at 56%. The report notes that the survey was conducted four months after the Uvalde CISD shooting.
  • Fifty-three percent of parents believe that the STAAR tests effectively measure student learning, 81% of current or former teachers would disagree.
  • Fifty-four percent of Texans oppose a private school voucher system that would reduce funding for public schools. More than 80% believe private schools receiving state funding should be required to accept students with special needs and provide special education services, and more than 70% say they should be subject to state curriculum standards and standardized test requirements. Note that voucher attempts in Texas have not included such requirements, as most private schools would resist this level of state involvement.

The full report includes other issues, as well as informative breakdowns by demographics, political parties, and parental status, and we encourage you to click here to read more.