A stunning majority of Americans now support raising teacher salaries.

The fact that teachers are underpaid isn't exactly breaking news. But ever since West Virginia's high-profile teacher strike in February, the reality faced by educators in America has become crystal clear.

Teachers strikes across the country have raised awareness about the economic challenges educators face — including how typical it is for educators to spend their own money on vital classroom materials, from paper to furniture.

The West Virginia strike quickly inspired similar efforts in Colorado, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. Teachers are supporting their colleagues, too: Arizona educators recently started striking to secure raises for school receptionists and bus drivers.  


Some have feared the frequent statewide strikes would inspire a backlash — after all, the myth that teachers clock out at 3 p.m. everyday and get unlimited time off in the summers still persists. And as recently as 2010, an AP-Stanford poll found that only 57% felt that teachers were paid too little.

But the strikes appear to be working: A majority of Americans are in favor of increasing teacher pay.

According to a new AP-NORC poll, a super majority of 78% of poll respondents say that teachers aren't paid enough, with only 6% saying that they are paid too much.

Plus, a slim majority of those surveyed even support raising taxes to help pay for increasing teacher salaries.

"To educate children and barely get a living is obnoxious," Arizona resident Elaine Penman said in an interview connected to the poll. "I'm a parent and I benefit directly from what teachers do."

Teacher salaries are quickly becoming a bipartisan issue.

According to the poll, nearly 90% of Democrats agree teachers aren't paid enough, as do 78% of Independents and 66% of Republicans.

52% of people responding to the poll say they agree with the striking teachers' efforts, with only 25% disagreeing. And according to those "paying attention" to the strikes, 80% support them.

Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images.

The benefits of education are profound. And most Americans agree that teachers should be fairly compensated for their work.

Everyone may not agree on the solution, but nearly everyone agrees on the problem: Teachers aren't being paid enough and they're being asked to do too much. And research shows that strong education is tied to everything from better job opportunities to personal health.

As statewide strikes continue, people are paying attention.

And the more they pay attention, a clear consensus is emerging: Paying teachers a fair wage isn't just the right thing to do — it's a literal investment in our own futures.

For many people, seeing any animal in captivity is a tragic sight. But when an animal cannot safely be released into the wild, a captive-but-comfortable space is the next best thing.

That's the situation for a dozen female pachyderms who have joined the Yulee refuge at the White Oak Conservation Center north of Jacksonville, Florida. The Asian elephants, who are endangered in the wild, are former circus animals that were retired from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2016. The group includes two sets of full sisters and several half-sisters. Elephants tend to live together in multi-generational family groups led by a matriarch.

Philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter, who fund the refuge for rare species, say they are "thrilled to give these elephants a place to wander and explore."

"We are working to protect wild animals in their native habitats," the Walters said in a statement. "But for these elephants that can't be released, we are pleased to give them a place where they can live comfortably for the rest of their lives."

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

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The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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