The teacher appreciation gap: what we’re doing about it
This is Teacher Appreciation Week across Texas and the country, a time when many teachers receive tokens of appreciation – cards, coffee drinks, flowers, maybe even gift cards to their favorite stores or restaurants.
Teachers may feel appreciated, at least for this one week in May. But do Texans truly appreciate our public school teachers?
In short, they do.
According to data from our 2022 Charles Butt Foundation Poll, Texans value teachers more today than ever, and they trust them more than any other public school entity.
And when asked how much Texans trust various entities to make decisions in the best interest of students, teachers top the list with 71 percent of Texans’ trust. Next on the list are school principals followed by state elected officials.
What’s more, parents cite the quality of teachers as the top reason for choosing to keep their kids enrolled in their current school (96 percent).
Sixty-three percent of Texans believe teacher salaries are too low and 69% believe teachers are undervalued in society.
These data show deep value, trust, and concern for Texas teachers.
Those who are closest to teachers, such as parents, feel this even stronger. To know teachers is to value them. To know them is to trust them.
But is this what we see in the headlines? Is this how teachers feel? Is this how they are supported by communities, elected officials, and the state budget?
At the Charles Butt Foundation, we prioritize teachers – preparing them, supporting them, engaging with them, and listening to them.
Since 2018, our Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers has provided $7 million ($7,686,000) to 625 college students who are studying to become Texas teachers. Our Raising Texas Teachers program works with 27 Texas universities to strengthen their teacher preparation programs. We work with organizations across the state to elevate the status of teaching and support teachers through the #TeachersCan movement. And we are listening to teachers more than ever. We elevate their voices through our annual statewide poll of Texas teachers and with our newest in-house initiative – statewide focus groups, through which teachers share their expertise and perspectives about the profession and how to strengthen it for the future.
We focus so much on teachers because they are closest to students and to the full potential of the Texas public school system. With nearly 90% of Texas children attending public schools, as goes the Texas teaching profession, so goes the state – our future workforce, economy, and the health of our communities. For this reason, we are “all in” on supporting Texas teachers, and we hope Texans join us in appreciating and advocating for them, this week and every week.