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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Poll: Americans want teachers paid more, differently



Most Americans think teachers should earn higher starting salaries, but a strong majority (72 percent) also favor merit pay, according to the results of the latest PDK/Gallup poll, released this morning.

The poll also found Americans have different opinions of teacher tenure, depending on how it is defined. If defined as a “lifetime contract” awarded after a two- to three-year period, 73 percent disapprove. If it’s defined as policy that ensures teachers are given a formal legal review before they can be fired, 66 percent approve.

On other issues, the poll found:

• 32 percent believe a lack of funding is the biggest problem facing public schools – by far the top choice among seven options (the others being lack of discipline, overcrowding, drugs, fighting, lack of standards and lack of good teachers).

• 45 percent give President Barack Obama an A or B for his performance in support of public schools, while 37 percent gave him a C or D, and 10 percent gave him a “fail.”

• 24 percent say No Child Left Behind is helping schools, 29 percent say it’s hurting and 43 percent say it’s making no difference.

• 66 percent favor annual testing to track student progress, while 34 percent oppose it – numbers that haven’t changed much since No Child required it in 2002.

Ron Matus, State Education Reporter


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:33am]


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