Teachers are of two minds when it comes to educational reform, with half supporting the idea of measuring teacher effectiveness according to student growth and half saying it's a poor or fair idea, according to a recent report by Education Sector, a Washington-based think tank.
The report, "Waiting to Be Won Over: Teachers Speak on the Profession, Unions, and Reform," is based on data from about 1,000 randomly selected K-12 public school teachers nationwide. (The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.) The findings point to a number of questions for reformers, including how to get rid of ineffective teachers. More than half of the teachers surveyed say it's very difficult to get rid of teachers who should not be in the classroom, and a whopping 76 percent say too many burned-out teachers keep teaching because they don't want to lose accrued benefits. Still, there was little consensus on how teachers ought to be evaluated and kept or dismissed.
"As a whole, teachers today are what political analysts might describe as 'in play' and waiting to be won over," says the report. "Despite frustrations with schools...teachers are not sold on any one reform agenda.