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Civitas Poll: Voters Support Giving Principals Expanded Authority

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Raleigh, N.C. – There is strong support among North Carolina voters for giving school principals expanded hiring and salary authority according to the most recent Civitas Institute poll.

Seventy-one percent of voters said they support giving principals additional authority to hire and remove faculty and more discretion in setting salary levels for school personnel.  Twenty-four percent said they oppose the proposed changes and 5 percent said they do not know or have no opinion.

Voters of all party affiliations support giving principals expanded hiring authority: Democratic (65 percent), Republican (74 percent), and Unaffiliated (78 percent).

“This broad-based support shows it’s clearly time to give principals more authority and the tools they need to improve our schools,” said Civitas Institute policy analyst Bob Luebke.

On a related topic, voters oppose the concept of teacher tenure by a 64 percent to 31 percent margin.  Tenure means that after passing a probationary period, 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.

“Like many other states, North Carolina is finding that teacher tenure doesn’t serve the educational needs of our students or prove to be a wise economic investment.  Finding an acceptable option will one of the biggest challenges lawmakers will address in the coming months,” added Luebke.

The Civitas Poll is the only regular live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina.  For more information on Civitas polling see http://www.nccivitas.org/category/poll/.

Full text of questions:

“School principals are held responsible for their students and their school. Would you support or oppose giving principals expanded authority to hire and remove faculty and more discretion in setting salary levels for their school’s personnel?”

Total Support – 71%

Total Oppose – 24%

Strongly Support – 46%

Somewhat Support – 25%

Somewhat Oppose – 8%

Strongly Oppose – 16%

Don’t Know/No Opinion – 5%

“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?”

Total Support – 31%

Total Oppose – 64%

Strongly Support – 17%

Somewhat Support – 13%

Somewhat Oppose – 15%

Strongly Oppose – 49%

Don’t Know/No Opinion – 5%

Click here for full results and crosstabs.

This poll of 600 registered general election voters in North Carolina was conducted March 14-16 by National Research, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ.  All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina.  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.

The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in two of the past four general elections or were newly registered to vote since 2008.

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This article was posted in Press Releases by Katie Trout on April 11, 2011 at 1:29 PM.

© 2011 The Civitas Institute. Visit us on the web at www.nccivitas.org.
This article can be found at http://www.nccivitas.org/2011/civitas-poll-voters-support-giving-principals-expanded-authority/

Comments on this article

  • 1

    Lina Drinkard
    Lina Drinkard Apr 12, 2011 at 0:41

    Tenure does not mean that a teacher has a job for life. It simply means that a teacher has due process. An administrator must identify performande problems, give the teacher appropriate assitance to improve, and document whether or not the improvement occurrs in a timely fashion. Removal of “bad” teacher is a simple matter of an administrator appropriately doing their job. This information is factual, not emotional. Ignorance among legilators and the public is not an excuse for makeing bad decisions for public education.

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