This report focuses on how Americans and K–12 public school teachers in particular
view news media coverage of teachers and how they view the teaching profession
overall. Findings from this nationally representative survey of American adults and of
K–12 public teachers, fielded in November 2020, include the following:
1. While nearly all Americans believe that teachers are skilled professionals who
deserve respect, with many seeing them as heroes, few teachers think their
communities value them a great deal.
2. Only about half of Americans think that teachers should be paid as much as
doctors or lawyers, and about half think that teachers who do not like their jobs
should quit rather than complain.
3. Americans believe that the news media impacts teachers and teaching,
including how much communities value teachers. Most Americans, including
most teachers, want the news media to cover teachers more positively.
4. Americans are especially interested in reading news stories about curriculum
and pedagogy, but most also believe it is very important for the media to report
on accusations of illegal activity by teachers. Teachers, however, are most
interested in reading about whether teachers have sufficient supplies and how
issues like student poverty affect teaching and learning.