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63% Say It’s Too Hard To Get Rid of Bad Teachers

Governors of several major states in an effort to improve lagging student performance are seeking ways to get rid of poor teachers by weakening or eliminating longstanding teacher tenure policies. Most Americans agree that it’s too difficult right now to get poor teachers out of the classroom.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of American Adults believe it is too hard to get rid of poor teachers. Just six percent (6%) think it’s too easy to get rid of ineffective teachers, while 18% say the level of difficulty is about right. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Americans with children in grades kindergarten through 12 feel even more strongly: 73% say it’s too difficult now to remove poor teachers.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of all adults say tenure for teachers should be based more on how their students perform academically rather than on other factors, including principal evaluations. Thirty-four percent (34%) think those other factors should carry more weight. Again, 13% are undecided.

But most adults (68%) also continue to strongly feel that teachers’ unions are more interested in protecting their members’ jobs than in the quality of education. Sixteen percent (16%) say the unions put the quality of education first, down seven points from when Rasmussen Reports first asked the question in December 2008. Another 16% aren’t sure.

Those with children in grades K-12 are even more skeptical of the teachers’ unions.

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The survey of 1,000 American Adults were conducted on February 1-2, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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