Executive Summary

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:

Key Findings

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.