Polling on the professionalization of public education and the end of tenure

Updated 9.30.2015 at 2:40 PM. Since originally posting this, Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association, has noted that Utah teachers don’t have tenure. This piece does not say that Utah teachers have tenure, does not mention Utah education policy, is categorized as “national interest” and is based on a national poll. However, in the interest of clarity–Utah teachers do not have tenure. As one comment notes below, they “have due process rights after completing a three year probationary status. In other words, they are not at will employees that can be fired for no reason. They have to be given the chance to remediate deficiencies under a very limited 120 day window. If they can’t they are terminated.”

Now that that is out of the way, here’s some interesting stuff about how the public–nationally–supports the professionalization of educators, as well as higher pay.


A new poll shows that while support for more teacher pay is solid, the public may expect teachers to give up the security of tenure.

With parent teacher conferences fresh on my mind after meeting with our second grade daughter’s two teachers yesterday, I read about recently released results of a PDK/Gallup poll that indicate support is increasing for the professionalization of the education profession.

A strong majority of respondents—73 percent of Americans and 74 percent of public school parents—were also in favor of more extensive board certifications for teachers (akin to those in medicine and law) in addition to college degrees.

At the same time, a substantial amount though smaller amount–58 percent of all Americans and 66 percent of public school parents–want teachers to be paid better.

Polling on the professionalization of public education and the end of tenureBut that’s not all; there is strong support to end teachers tenure, as well.

Better pay, more professional, and less security; support is deep for paying teachers more, but is accompanied by expectations that teachers will be treated more like other professions.

Joan Richardson, the editor-in-chief of the education journal Phi Delta Kappan, said the poll results suggest that while the U.S. public appreciates and respects teachers, they also “expect more from the profession.”  

“In a tough love message, … the public also seems to be saying that elevating teaching into true professional status may require that teachers give up something they hold precious: tenure,” said Richardson.


Hat tip to David Doty who shared the poll earlier today.


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