David R. Schuler, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement today following the release of the 55th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

“We’ve said many times that public education is the cornerstone of this country. We need to save it. We need to transform it. The responsibility is huge, but the reward is immense. Per the data driven by this report, America is crying out to throw its support behind those who are charged with leading the classrooms in which our children are learning more than ever before.

“With most of the respondents of the 2023 PDK Poll saying our teachers are undervalued (73%), underpaid (66%) and overworked (58%), the time is now for our schools, districts and communities to take the courage to scale up their support that these educators deserve.

“James Lane, CEO of PDK International, said, ‘One of the most important things we can do for students is to ensure there is a great teacher in every classroom. Heading into this back-to-school season, the sad reality is that many communities face teacher shortages.’ Who can argue? As we prepare our students for a world in which we cannot imagine, these young learners, their families and the communities in which they live need high-quality teachers to lead the classrooms in our school buildings. What’s more, our teachers need to know they’re appreciated for the herculean work they do.

“Given what we learned from last year’s poll—that more than half of the adults surveyed gave an A or a B to the public schools in their communities—doesn’t it make sense to further demonstrate that support by rewarding our teachers accordingly? By doing so, wouldn’t that increase the value of the teaching profession and, in turn, widen the educator pipeline for the next generation of top-notch teachers? At a time when we’re trying to preserve public education and, for that matter, our democracy, there cannot be any other alternative.

“The results of this year’s poll reaffirm our efforts to continue the national dialogue around public education and in particular, the vital support that is needed for the teachers in our schools. We congratulate Dr. Lane and his staff at PDK International for bringing these important issues to our attention.”

About AASA

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.