The October 2014 Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup Poll says the following about what the public thinks about teachers. The big news here, in my view, is the dramatic shift in public opinion from favoring to opposing the use of standardized test scores to evaluate teachers. Only 1% was undecided on this question. Those favoring such a policy dropped from 61% to 38%. The public, if this poll is right, understands that value-added measurement is not working and is hurting the teachers in their community’s public schools. The bad news for Teach for America is that the public wants well-prepared, highly-trained teachers in their schools, not inexperienced young college graduates who have not passed through rigorous preparation and screening.
Only 38% of Americans favor using student performance on standardized tests to evaluate teachers, with parents even less supportive (31%). [My comment: Only two years ago, 52% approved using test scores to evaluate teachers; this is a big change in public opinion. The 61% who oppose using student performance on standardized test has increased from 47% in 2012.]
Of three reasons proposed for evaluating a teacher’s performance in the classroom, 77% of Americans said helping teachers improve their ability to teach is a very important reason for evaluating them. But fewer Americans (65%)
said documenting ineffectiveness that can lead to dismissal is a very important reason to evaluate their performance, and 46% said using teacher performance to determine salaries and bonuses is very important.
More than 70% of Americans said new teachers should spend at least a year practice teaching under the guidance of a certified teacher before assuming responsibility for their own classrooms.
More than 80% of Americans said teachers should pass board certification in addition to being licensed to practice, similar to professions like medicine and law.
60% of Americans said entrance requirements into teacher preparation programs should be more rigorous.
64% of public school parents have trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching children in the public schools, but this percentage declined from 72% in 2013.
57% of Americans would like their child to take up teaching in the public schools as a career. This proportion was lower than when the question was last asked in 2005, when 62% supported teaching as a profession for their child.