Americans want professionalism, not tenure

Americans want higher professional requirements for teachers and believe teacher pay is too low, but a slight majority said they don’t like tenure, according to a new poll from PDK International and Gallup, which surveyed the public’s attitude toward public schools.


PDK International/Gallup Poll 2015: On teacher tenure (Voxitatis graphic)

The opinion varies by political party affiliation, inasmuch as it could be determined, as well as by the race or ethnicity of the individual. In general, Blacks support tenure more than Whites or Hispanics, and Republicans oppose it more than Democrats.

The poll was a nationally representative web survey of 3,499 Americans ages 18 and older with Internet access and an additional telephone survey of 1,001 Americans ages 18 and older, conducted in May.

In addition, about 73 percent of Americans said teachers should be required to pass board certifications in addition to earning a degree, a requirement that would be similar to the requirements to practice medicine or law. But 11 percent of the people, about 1 in 9, said they didn’t know if this should be required of teachers in our schools.

In the article “Licensure and Worker Quality: A Comparison of Alternative Routes to Teaching” in The Journal of Law and Economics, Tim R Sass of Georgia State University compares the characteristics and performance of Florida teachers who graduate from traditional university-based teacher preparation programs with those who enter teaching from alternative pathways where a bachelor’s degree in education isn’t required. In general, alternatively certified teachers have stronger SAT scores, come from more competitive colleges and are more likely to pass teacher certification exams on the first try.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.