Americans Have High Regard for Teachers

May 18, 2010 ( - A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 73% of adults rate teaching as one of the country's most important jobs, up nine points from early May 2008.

Solid majorities of both men and women regard teaching as a one of the most important professions in the country, and there is little disagreement across all demographic groups, Rasmussen said. Just 16% of respondents say being a teacher is not one of the most important jobs, and another 11% are undecided.  

But, while Americans hold teachers in high regard, the majority say “better you than me.” Only 24% consider teaching a desirable profession to pursue, while 56% of adults don’t view the teaching profession as worth going into. Twenty percent are not sure. Men feel more strongly than women that teaching is not a desirable profession to go into.  

Sixty percent of Americans say public education has gotten worse over the past 10 years, while only 20% say it’s gotten better and 14% say there’s been no change. Thirty-eight percent believe it would be good for the United States if more students attended private schools instead of public schools. Almost as many (36%) feel the opposite is true, and 26% are undecided.   

However, 47% of adults still rate public schools as the best type of schooling for students. Thirty-five percent say private schools are best, while just 9% think home schooling is the best way to go.   

Men are more than twice as likely as women to say public schools have gotten better in the last 10 years. While 50% of men say it would be better if more students attended private schools, only 28% of women agree.   

The survey found adults with children living with them tend to think it would be better if more students went to private schools. Those without children in the home are almost evenly divided on the question.   

Seventy-two percent of parents rate the performance of their child’s school as good or excellent – down nine points from September 2008.  

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on May 10, 2010.