Poll: Most Want Easier Way to Fire Bad Teachers

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A majority of Americans think it's too difficult to fire bad teachers, according to a new poll by The Associated Press and Stanford University.

Seventy-eight percent of those polled believe it should be easier for administrators to fire poorly performing teachers.

Carmen Williams, 53, an office manager from Yates City, Ill., said the issue is simple: Pay teachers more and get rid of the bad ones.

"Good teachers are hard to find, and one of the reasons they are hard to find is because they're not paid enough to support themselves, especially if they have a family," she said. "There are very good teachers out there, but there comes a day when they need to retire and they don't and what happens at that point is the kids suffer."

Seventy-one percent of respondents said it should also be easier to fire principals at schools where students are not doing very well.

More than half of those polled -- 57 percent -- think teachers are paid too little, and 68 percent said parents are more to blame for academic failures than teachers.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the poll results show that parents understand that teachers are not to blame for all the woes in public education.

"The scapegoating of teachers must stop and collective responsibility must start," Weingarten said. "This should be a wakeup call to education leaders and policymakers that all of us have to do our part. Of course teachers are important, but they can't do it all and policymakers have to stop blaming them."

The AP-Stanford poll on education was conducted Sept. 23-30 by Abt SRBI, Inc. It involved interviews on landline and cellular telephones with 1,001 adults nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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