Poll: Experience shouldn’t be the only factor in teacher layoffs

Seniority shouldn’t be the only factor, or even the most important factor, in deciding which teachers get laid off, according to a Hechinger Report summary of a new poll sponsored by the educators’ association Phi Delta Kappa and conducted by Gallup.

Seventy-one percent say experience is “very important” or “somewhat important” in layoff decisions, but the same proportion said a teachers academic degrees are important. Student test scores are considered important by 74 percent, but the greatest weight–87 percent–was given to principals’ evaluations of the teachers.

When it comes to setting a teacher’s salary, more people think academic degrees and evaluations are important (89 percent and 87 percent, respectively) than think experience (82 percent) or test scores (73 percent) matter.

Other poll results, available as a .pdf file, include a finding that people have a dim view of the nation’s education system, with only 17 percent giving American schools an A or a B. But 51 percent give good marks to their own community’s schools, and 79 percent rate their own kids’ school highly.

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