A new national survey finds deep public concern about the K-12 public school workforce. Americans’ Views of Public School Teachers and Personnel in the Wake of COVID-19 finds that eighty-three percent of Americans express concerns about public school staff shortages, while 81 percent are worried about workforce burnout.

Conducted by Greenwald Research, this new national survey finds most Americans (89 percent) say K-12 public school staff deserve more respect, and they indicate that better pay (92 percent), healthcare benefits (89 percent) and pensions (86 percent) would help address workforce shortages.

The report’s key findings are as follows:

  • Americans are deeply concerned about teachers and public school employees. Eighty-three percent are worried about staff shortages, 81 percent are concerned about staff burnout, and 81 percent are concerned that fewer people are going into education. This concern is high across party lines.
  • Americans value K-12 employees. Nearly all Americans (95 percent) say public school teachers and personnel are important to their community, while 89 percent say they deserve more respect. Eighty-eight percent say their pay should be increased.
  • Better pay and benefits, student loan forgiveness, and more school resources would help attract and retain teachers and school personnel. Ninety-two percent of respondents said better pay would help drive more people into the profession. Eighty-nine percent pointed to more generous healthcare benefits, while 86 percent said more generous pensions would help. Eighty-eight percent responded that more funding and resources for schools would be a key factor, while 75 percent indicated student loan forgiveness would be important.
  • Healthcare and retirement benefits are viewed as magnets for attracting and retaining K-12 school personnel, and these benefits should be funded and protected. Ninety-two percent of Americans indicated healthcare benefits are a good tool to attract and retain teachers and school personnel, while 91 percent agree pensions also help. Ninety-four percent of respondents said elected officials must ensure teacher and school personnel pension and healthcare benefits are sufficiently funded.

This research was made possible thanks to a grant from NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community.