Teachers in North Carolina usually apply for tenure after four years of teaching. If granted — barring some violation of any of the thirteen specific criteria used to remove permanent employees — teachers essentially have a job for life.
Many principals and education reform advocates have criticized tenure because it ties the hands of administrators and because there is no linkage between teacher salary and student performance. The Excellent Public Schools Act, (SB-795) sponsored by Sen. Phil Berger hopes to correct this problem. The bill includes a provision to allow local superintendents and principals to hire teachers on an annual basis. The bill also ties teacher salaries to student performance. The tenure provision is likely to be the most controversial provision of the entire package and may undergo revision before final passage.
In January 2012 and March 2011, the Civitas Institute Monthly Poll questions on teacher tenure. Results seem to indicate strong support improving the current system. Questions and poll results are included below.
When it comes to public education, the policy of tenure protects long-serving teachers from being fired regardless of student performance. If a principal or superintendent wishes to dismiss or demote or change an employment status, he or she must follow a strict set of guidelines to do so. Some say tenure limits a school’s ability to pay teachers based on performance and ties the hands of administrators who want flexibility to balance budge and staffing decisions. Tenure supporters say it protects teachers from outside the classroom influence and allows them to teach free from the fear of losing their jobs. With that information, please tell me if you support or oppose the elimination of tenure? (January, 2012 Civitas Institute Poll)
Total Support for Elimination of Tenure – 50%
(Strongly Support -30%)
(Somewhat Support – 20%)
Total Opposition for the Elimination of Tenure – 33%
(Somewhat Oppose 13%)
(Strongly Oppose - 20%)
Don’t Know –16%
Refused to Answer. –1%
Teachers can receive tenure after teaching for four years. Tenure means a teacher has a job essentially for life and can only be removed for very specific reasons. When reducing staff due to budget cuts teachers last hired are usually first fired without regard for performance due to tenure requirements. Do you support or oppose the concept of teacher tenure? (March 2011, Civitas Institute Poll)
Total Support – 30%
(Strong Support - 17%)
(Somewhat Support – 13%)
Total Oppose – 64%
(Somewhat Oppose - 15%)
(Strongly Oppose - 49%)
Don’t Know – 5%
Refused to Answer - 1%
The Civitas Poll is poll of 600 registered general election voters in North Carolina. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in two of the past four general elections or were newly registered to vote since 2008.
If you’re interested in further breakdown of responses,access poll cross tabs here.