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Key takeaways from our 2023 Texas Education Poll

Our annual Texas Education Poll brings the opinions, beliefs, hopes, fears, and ideas from Texans, including parents of schoolchildren and those without children in schools, to the field. We hope fellow researchers, educators, and decision makers will use this information in their work. 

These Texas Education Poll key takeaways highlight some of the clear challenges Texans describe and their future-focused messages calling for support of and investments in our students and schools. 

May their voices inspire us all to listen, learn, and act on behalf of all Texas students.

Strong Support

While aware of their challenges, Texans express a deep reservoir of goodwill for the state’s public schools. The majority of parents are satisfied with their child’s public school and would choose it again given other options.

  • 89% of Texas public school parents are satisfied with the quality of education their child is receiving. This compares to 80% nationally, per a 2022 Gallup poll.
  • 82% of public school parents would keep their child in their current public school, if given other public school choice options.

Texans value teachers, and overwhelmingly support increasing teacher salaries.

  • Reflecting on their own K-12 experience as a student, 84% of Texans recall at least one way (among the list offered) a teacher had a positive influence in their lives.
  • 89% of Texans believe the state should fund increased teacher salaries. This includes broad approval among political parties, including 95% among Democrats, 90% among independents, and 83% among Republicans.
  • When asked about salary amounts among different teacher tenure levels, Texans strongly support increased pay for experienced teachers).
  • When it comes to how salaries should be increased, Texas support basing them on the following:

Texans strongly support transparency and accountability for public funds used for education. This would extend to private schools if vouchers were an option.

  • Texans believe there must be transparency and accountability for taxpayer dollars. Texas does not have a voucher program, in which a state allows public funds to be used for private school tuition. In our 2023 Texas Education Poll, we asked Texans about the hypothetical scenario of private schools receiving state funding. The vast majority of Texans say they should be held to similar requirements as public schools.
  • Specifically, the following % of Texans support these requirements for private schools if they were to receive state funding:
  • When asked about school vouchers, a majority of Texans, 54%, oppose them.

Clear Challenges

Parents and Texans are concerned about student safety, both in terms of physical safety and how students are treated at school. 

  • Our 2022 Texas Education Poll asked about student belonging, and 77% of parents said their child’s sense of belonging at school was very or somewhat strong. Building on that, we wanted to learn more this year about what belonging means, and how parents think their children are experiencing it at school. 
  • Majorities of parents reported they are very/extremely confident in the following:
  • Encouragingly, 90% of parents are at least somewhat confident in at least one of the above, and 82% are at least somewhat confident in all of the above. 
  • However, there is real concern around school safety and treatment of students. In an open-ended question to all Texans about the biggest problems facing local public schools that has been asked since the survey’s inception in 2020, concerns surrounding school safety, including the risk of gun violence, rose to the number one spot in 2023.
  • 53% of Texans see at least a moderate risk that public school students in their own community might experience a mass shooting event at school.
    • 41% of public school parents see at least a moderate risk their own child might experience a mass shooting event.
  • Texans also worry about how students are treated at school. When asked about risks for students in their community, Texans reported these concerns:
  • When reporting about their own child, parents are concerned about the following:
    • 67% report at least a moderate or large risk their child may experience one of the following. Specific risks follow:
      • 53% cyberbullying 
      • 48% physical bullying
      • 38% sexual harassment from other students 
      • 37% discrimination based on race
      • 35% discrimination based on economic status
      • 29% discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation 
      • 26% discrimination based on English-language capabilities

Texans believe teachers are overworked and under appreciated, and fewer Texans than ever would want their child to become a teacher.

  • 74% of Texans believe teachers receive too little respect in society and 66% believe teachers are overworked.
  • Sadly, only 39% of Texans would want their child to become a teacher, the lowest % since we began polling in 2020 (48%).

There is doubt about the effectiveness of state standardized tests (STAAR) to measure student learning, and similar doubts about if the state’s accountability ratings accurately reflect school quality.

  • Only 42% of Texans believe the STAAR tests effectively measure student learning. 
  • Less than half of Texans (47%) believe state letter accountability grades for school campuses accurately reflect the quality of local public schools. 
  • It is worth noting that only a third of Texans (32%) and half of public school parents (50%) are aware of the letter grade assigned to their local public school by the state.


Texans see areas in need of improvement, but overall want schools to be successful and for all children to thrive. 

Texans express support for every investment item we surveyed, with higher support than any of our past polls. They want to invest in the needs of students—physical, mental, and material; in programs like Career & Technical Education CTE; and universal, optional Pre Kindergarten. They believe we should improve building security, invest in increasing teacher salaries, and address learning gaps. 

This information reflects a forward-thinking Texas, a Texas focused on championing public schools. Texans want to strengthen the foundation of support our schools provide Texas families and communities. This clear message from Texans is about investing in our children and the future of Texas.

Read and download a copy of the full 2023 poll report here.