Majority of Americans Want to Fire Bad Teachers

A new poll reveals that 78% of Americans feel it is too difficult to fire “bad”teachers, even though only 35% believe that underperforming teachers are even a serious problem in public education.

At Odds with Media

The media helps politicians and education reformers like Bill Gates push the idea that teachers are the root of the public education’s problem in the United States. Most Americans don’t agree. 

They blame parents, federal, state and local governments and the fact that school officials aren’t recruiting and retaining the best teachers for education failures in this country.

Less than half of those polled also reject the notion that teachers’ unions are at fault, despite the hard sell over the past year that paints unionized teachers as enemies of change.

Administrators Targeted Too

Americans feel that school administrators should be held accountable for school failures with 71% supporting the idea that principals of poor performing schools should be easier to dismiss.

Performance Pay

Those polled agreed, however, with one of education reform’s top priorities – basing salary and bonuses on student achievement. Half felt that teacher pay should be tied directly to student test scores and 1 in 4 felt that salaries should be determined by administrative evaluations.

Public Gets It

American Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten, said the poll illustrates that Americans understand that teachers are not to blame for public education’s problems and that it is time for the scapegoating of teachers to stop and for all stakeholders to pitch in and do their part.

What Do You Think?

Blame seems to be where the solutions to all problems in America start, but is that really an effective way to problem solve? Is placing blame more important than finding real world solutions? 

How would you fix public education? What’s being tried in your local school that’s worked? Share your stories.

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Photo credit: Busy Walls by Woodleywonderworks


Jo S4 years ago

Thanks Ann.

Dave C.
David C6 years ago

.....only when we fire all the "bads" -- i.e. customer service reps, lawyers, doctors, writers, newspaper people, TV and radio people, etc, etc, etc.....

how about putting more emphasis and importance on education on society rather than idolizing athletes and entertainers (and paying them incredibly exhorbitant money) and start idolizing/paying smart well educated teachers/scientists/etc......

then parents need to encourage and support and expect good grades.....

support for good teachers and the training and materials they need!!!!

I could go on and on and on.....

Joe R.
Joe R7 years ago


Lise K.
Lise K7 years ago

Rewarding teachers financially for learners' good grades will quickly turn into a perverse incentive. Teachers should be (a) very well trained, (b) adequately paid and (c) properly monitored and evaluated throughout their teaching career (with appropriate 'carrots' and 'sticks' linked to evaluation) to ensure that learners get what they deserve.

Tvshow T.
Tvshow T.8 years ago

Watch Bad Teacher

Watch Bad Teacher

Snd N.
Snd N8 years ago

I have been Sub teaching for almost three years. I am on my second master degree for education. It IS the teachers fault. The Unions (god bless the true reason for them) are protecting them, and they know it. I have seen and heard horrors/true horrors and the Admin (majority) are there for money not to do the best for the students. I am speaking from true experience. If you heard the nastiness they say about you parents your toes would curl. And, many are so arrogant and snotty they truly have no social skills (teachers). i work in Rural, Sub-urban, and Urban districts and they are all the same. There is so much waste it is discusting. I have been in rooms with Aides, Assistants, and the main teacher is the only one working while the others talk on cells and each other. I have witnessed the mocking of Autistic and special ed students right in front of them, I have heard teachers with their prejudices and vile talk in the lunch rooms. There is no compassion, no "many things". I want to scream, I want to get a FT room of my own and make a difference. Majority of whatyou see from the teachers is fake. Accountibility does not exist, and I only see the Admin actually visiting rooms (throughout a day) in ONE out of 28 schools I visit. Parents need to be volunteers and ask questions from your kids and keep logs. DO NOT think that they are lying, listen, listen. I have kids from the worst schools thank me when I come and wish Iwere the teacher. Stop making excuses.

Victoria Molinari
Past Member 8 years ago

i think giving teachers bonus for good grades is an excellent idea.

...i also think that it doesnt hurt to give your children a bit of a reward for good grades. i gave my daughter small cash awards for good grades at the end of every grading period. and lots of praise. a lot of parents i think take doing well in school for granted. it i growing harder for kids to stay focused on the main reason for being in school.

im sure many wont agree with me but it made her smile and she got a kick out of having a bit of extra cash and she graduated a year early.

Ashley D.
Ashley L8 years ago

The problem is not with the teachers but with the education system as a whole. I've never understood why teachers are not rewarded based on performance and why it's so hard to dismiss poor teachers. The education system is certainly in need of desperate reform.

Cristi Sturgill
Cristi Sturgill8 years ago

Make it easier to fire not only incompetent teachers but also overpaid school administrators as well.

Azra F.
Azra F.8 years ago

I am a retired teacher. Teachers are the second reason education in schools is generally poor. The first reason is the Boards that prescribe the teachers' classroom work. The Boards are trying to do too much. Access to information in the modern world is almost unlimited; anyone trying to keep up is doomed to fail. Primary and secondary schools should focus on only literacy and basic arithmetic. When my children were in school, the prescribed work included such idiocies as collecting leaves, trips to a zoo, and music-instrument lessons. Of course include music as a credit subject, but not as a classroom subject if only because music is best engaged in one-on-one. And then there is Gym! God help us!