Education Matters When for Ballots, yet Only 16% Would Teach

University of Phoenix Survey Finds That Education Matters When Americans Cast Their Ballots, yet Only 16 Percent Would Consider Teaching as a Profession

By University of Phoenix

  • Nov 29, 2016
  • 3 min read

New Data Shows That Americans Value Teachers, but View Them as Underappreciated and Underpaid

PHOENIX, November 29, 2016 — A recent University of Phoenix® College of Education survey conducted by Morning Consult revealed that 80 percent of respondents cited K-12 education funding as important in this year’s election[1]. This response indicates that education matters to voters, yet only 16 percent have actually considered teaching as a profession, even as the nation currently faces a teacher shortage[2]. What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that opportunities in teaching will only continue to grow between 2014 and 2024[3].

Compounding the issue, the study indicates that American voters esteem the K-12 teaching profession within the community, ranking the profession higher than infrastructure, food establishments and retail.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • 84 percent of voters say K-12 teachers are important to their community
  • 69 percent of voters who have considered pursuing a K-12 teaching career say it is because they want to make a difference in children’s lives
  • 59 percent of voters consider teaching to be a fulfilling profession

Additionally, the same study indicates that teachers are viewed as both underappreciated and underpaid:

  • 68 percent of voters say the U.S. does not do enough to reward and incentivize teachers
  • Over half of voters (54 percent) say the U.S. generally values its teachers less than other industrialized nations
  • The top two reasons that hold people back from pursuing a K-12 teaching career are the time it would take to return to school (41 percent) and low salaries (37 percent)

The study reveals a discrepancy between the value Americans place on education and our teachers, and how they are compensated for their work, and this may be a factor in the persisting teacher shortage.

According to Pamela Roggeman, academic dean for University of Phoenix® College of Education, teacher retention may help to address this issue. “Teacher retention is key in addressing the teacher shortage—making sure teachers are learner-ready from day one, current in the most effective educational strategies, and have a plan for continuous professional growth. This is what sets teachers up helping students to achieve,” said Roggeman. “A huge step toward teacher retention is to reward teachers by helping them be seen and feel like respected leaders in the classroom.”

“As the opportunities and need for teachers continue to expand, so must the opportunities for preparation and education,” she continued. “Programs that can equip new and prospective educators with the best tools for navigating the field are an important first step in changing the perceptions that surround K-12 teachers today.”

For more information about teacher preparation programs, continuing teacher education and professional development programs at University of Phoenix, visit phoenix.edu/education.

For more information about University of Phoenix programs, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, please visit phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.

To learn more about programs offered through the College of Education, visit phoenix.edu/colleges_divisions/education.html.


A national sample of 2,502 registered U.S. voters completed the online survey, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of University of Phoenix, from July 22-24, 2016. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- two percentage points. For complete survey methodology, please contact Becky Frost.

About University of Phoenix® College of Education

University of Phoenix College of Education has been educating teachers and school administrators for more than 30 years. The College of Education provides bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for individuals who want to become teachers or current educators and administrators seeking advanced degrees to strengthen their professional knowledge. With education programs available throughout most of the U.S., the College of Education has a distinct grasp of the national education picture and priorities for teacher preparation. Faculty members on average bring more than 17 years of professional experience to the classroom. For more information, visit phoenix.edu/education.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.

[1] A national sample of 2,502 registered U.S. voters completed the online survey, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of University of Phoenix from July 22-24, 2016. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- two percentage points. For complete survey methodology, please contact Becky Frost at becky.frost@apollo.edu.

[2] http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/pol/tsa.pdf

[3] http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/article/education-jobs-teaching-for-a-living.html