(Thinkstock)An increased share of the American teaching force supports paying teachers based on their performance, evaluating teachers on how their students score on tests and other tenets of the education reform movement that teachers' unions have historically and often fiercely opposed, according to a new poll by the National Center for Education Information.
Fifty-nine percent of all teachers polled said they are in favor of paying teachers based on their performance (also called "merit pay"), up from only 42 percent in 2005. Nearly a third of teachers (up from 27 percent) said ending teacher tenure would improve education, while 19 percent (up from 13) said they would support ending teachers' unions altogether. The figures represent a small fraction of the total teaching force, but are notable for how much they've grown in only four years.
Some of this shift in opinion is echoed by the country's largest teachers' union, the National Education Association, which, to the surprise of many this May, tentatively backed the creation of standardized tests to evaluate teachers.
But Emily Feistritzer, the author of the study, tells The Lookout that much of the change appears to be driven by the growing number of teachers who are entering schools through non-traditional routes. These teachers didn't major in education in college or go to an education graduate school program; instead they joined teaching through alternate certification routes for mid-career professionals or programs like Teach for America.Read More »from Poll shows changing teaching force more receptive to education reform ideas