Residents support tenure and voucher reform, according to poll

A majority of New Jersey residents support tenure reform for teachers along with some type of voucher program, according to a new Monmouth University/NJ Press Media poll released Monday.

There is also support among residents for some sort of merit pay proposal, however, they are unsure whether the pay should be based on standardized tests.

According to to the poll of 802 residents, 77 percent approve of the governor’s proposal to institute limited tenure that would be subject to periodic evaluations versus just 18 percent who disapprove. Of respondents with a teacher in the household, 71 percent agree while 82 percent of those polled who have children in a public school agree.

Asked to evaluate the current tenure rules, 52 percent say they disapprove versus 42 percent who approve.

Just 31 percent of those polled say standardized tests are an “excellent” or “good” method to evaluate teachers.

Respondents were split on charter schools with an equal number who said they are better than traditional public schools as said they are about the same. Just over half said the advent of charter schools has made no difference to traditional public schools in the state, while the same number said better measures are needed to hold charter schools accountable for their performance.

When asked about a state voucher program that would use tax dollars to allow children living in low-income areas to go to a different school, 55 percent supported the possibility versus 34 percent who were opposed. But despite the support for the program, two-thirds of respondents said vouchers would either weaken or make no difference in the quality of the state’s public school system.

Proving the low public interest in the annual school board elections, 51 percent of those polled said they have no opinion on whether to move the annual election to November.  A total of 39 percent said they would favor the move.

Residents support tenure and voucher reform, according to poll