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  Washington Post Teachers Poll

Sunday, July 4, 1999

This Washington Post poll is based on telephone interviews with 802 public high school teachers in the Washington metropolitan area on May 24 through June 28, 1999. The margin of error for regional results is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The margin of error for individual districts is as follows: DC and Montgomery, plus or minus 7 percentage points; Fairfax, plus or minus 7.5 percentage points; and Prince George's plus or minus 8 percentage points.

More on the poll's methodology.

6. We're interested in your attitudes toward some specific aspects of your job. Generally speaking, how satisfied are you with .... : Very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not-too-satisfied, or not at all satisfied?

                          ---Satisfied---   -Not satisfied--  N/A    No
                          NET  Very  Fair.  NET  Too  At all (vol.)  op.
a. The amount of money 
   you are paid             53    7   46     46   31    15     0     * 
b. The amount of control 
   you personally have 
   over the content of 
   the courses you teach    85   42   43     15   10     4     0     0
c. The availability of 
   up-to-date text books 
   at your school           72   35   37     24   17     7     3     *
d. The number of classes 
   you are asked to teach   86   51   35     13    9     4     1     *
e. The size of the classes 
   you are asked to teach   65   30   35     35   24    10     *     *
f. The overall amount of 
   school-related paperwork 
   you have to do           37    6   31     62   39    23     *     *
g. Your principal in terms 
   of leadership and 
   effectiveness            77   43   34     22   14     8     *     *
h. The availability of needed 
   equipment and supplies   72   26   46     28   21     7     *     0
i. The overall physical 
   condition of your school 73   33   40     26   17     9     *     *

a. The amount of money you are paid

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        53    7     46     46     31      15      0      *
6/28/99 Fairfax    46    7     38     54     44      10      0      0
6/28/99 Montco.    70   17     53     30     21       9      0      0
6/28/99 PG         27    2     26     72     36      36      0      1
6/28/99 DC         38    2     36     62     32      29      0      0

b. The amount of control you personally have over the content of the courses you teach

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        85   42     43     15     10       4      0       0
6/28/99 Fairfax    87   42     44     13      9       4      0       0
6/28/99 Montco.    82   40     42     18     15       4      0       0
6/28/99 PG         86   41     45     14      6       8      0       0
6/28/99 DC         91   51     40      9      7       2      0       0

c. The availability of up-to-date text books at your school

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        72   35     37     24     17       7       3      *
6/28/99 Fairfax    86   46     41     12      8       4       2      0
6/28/99 Montco.    75   33     42     19     16       4       5      1
6/28/99 PG         76   37     38     23     12      11       1      1
6/28/99 DC         40   13     27     56     32      25       4      0

d. The number of classes you are asked to teach

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        86   51     35     13      9       4       1      *
6/28/99 Fairfax    89   50     39     10      7       2       1      0
6/28/99 Montco.    87   53     34     12      9       3       0      1
6/28/99 PG         85   54     31     15     11       5       0      0
6/28/99 DC         89   44     44     11      7       3       1      0

e. The size of the classes you are asked to teach

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        65   30     35     35     24      10       *      *
6/28/99 Fairfax    71   29     42     29     21       8       0      0
6/28/99 Montco.    64   29     35     35     21      14       1      1
6/28/99 PG         51   24     27     49     37      12       0      0
6/28/99 DC         74   29     45     26     13      13       0      0

f. The overall amount of school-related paperwork you have to do

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        37    6     31     62     39      23       *      *
6/28/99 Fairfax    40    5     35     59     33      26       1      0
6/28/99 Montco.    44    7     37     56     35      21       0      0
6/28/99 PG         34   10     24     66     42      24       0      0
6/28/99 DC         48    9     40     51     30      21       0      1

g. Your principal in terms of leadership and effectiveness

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        77   43     34     22     14       8       *      *
6/28/99 Fairfax    78   44     34     21     12       9       1      0
6/28/99 Montco.    82   47     35     16     12       4       1      1
6/28/99 PG         73   35     37     27     15      12       0      0
6/28/99 DC         68   36     32     28     13      15       1      4

h. The availability of needed equipment and supplies

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        72   26     46     28     21       7       *      0
6/28/99 Fairfax    83   37     46     17     15       2       0      0
6/28/99 Montco.    84   43     41     16     14       2       1      0
6/28/99 PG         62   11     51     37     27      11       1      0
6/28/99 DC         33    7     26     66     36      30       1      0

i. The overall physical condition of your school

                  ----Satisfied----  ---Not satisfied---    N/A     No
                  NET  Very  Fairly  NET  Not-too  At all  (vol.)  opin.
6/28/99 ALL        73   33     40     26     17       9       *      *
6/28/99 Fairfax    79   37     42     19     16       3       1      1
6/28/99 Montco.    81   49     32     18     12       6       1      1
6/28/99 PG         62   21     41     38     23      15       0      0
6/28/99 DC         38    4     34     62     34      28       0      0

  7a. (VA and MD Teachers) What about the amount of direction your county school administrators give you about what to teach, would you say you get too much, too little or about the right amount of direction?

                     Too      Too       About the        No
                     much    little    right amount    opinion
6/28/99 ALL           15       16          67             2
6/28/99 Fairfax       16        7          74             2
6/28/99 Montco.       20        8          69             3
6/28/99 PG            14       24          61             2
6/28/99 DC            NA       NA          NA            NA

7b. (VA and MD Teachers) What about the amount of direction your STATE school administrators give you about what to teach, would you say you get too much, too little or about the right amount of direction?

                     Too      Too       About the        No
                     much    little    right amount    opinion
6/28/99 ALL           27       22          43             8
6/28/99 Fairfax       32       19          42             6
6/28/99 Montco.       20       17          49            14
6/28/99 PG            21       28          46             5
6/28/99 DC            NA       NA          NA            NA

7c. (DC Teachers) What about the amount of direction your District school administrators give you about what to teach, would you say you get too much, too little or about the right amount of direction?

                     Too      Too       About the        No
                     much    little    right amount    opinion
6/28/99 DC            13       35          49             3

8. Now I would like to ask you a few questions about this past school year, that is the academic year ending this June. In the average week this school year, about how many hours did you spend doing school-related work OUTSIDE the hours of your normal workday each week?

                  <5   5<10   10<15   15<20   20+   No opin
6/28/99 ALL        9    18      29      14     29      1
6/28/99 Fairfax    6    18      26      17     34      0
6/28/99 Montco.    8    14      30	    16     31      1
6/28/99 PG         12   18      29      12     28      1
6/28/99 DC         9    20      29      17     25      1

9. In the past school year, have you ever paid for needed school supplies, books or other school-related materials out of your own pocket?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        89    11         0
6/28/99 Fairfax    91     9         0
6/28/99 Montco.    83    17         0
6/28/99 PG         90    10         0
6/28/99 DC         95     5         0

9a. (Of those who paid for materials out of pocket) Estimated amount spent out of pocket over the course of the past year:

                 ------<$50-------  --------$50 or more---------  
                 NET  <$25  $25-49  NET  $50-99  $100-199  $200+  
6/28/99 ALL       21     5    16     79    24       24       32    
6/28/99 Fairfax   28     5    23     72    26       23       23    
6/28/99 Montco.   29     8    20     71    22       23       26    
6/28/99 PG        11     2     9     89    21       20       47    
6/28/99 DC         6     2     3     94    15       24       56

9d. How long is the normal class period in your school?

                   Mean
6/28/99 ALL        72.5
6/28/99 Fairfax    89.2
6/28/99 Montco.    57.4
6/28/99 PG         72.5
6/28/99 DC         75.9

9e. Do you think it would be better if class periods were longer, shorter or are they about right?

                Longer    Shorter   About right    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        16        18          64              2
6/28/99 Fairfax     4        31          64              1
6/28/99 Montco.    25        10          63              2
6/28/99 PG         15        17          66              2
6/28/99 DC         16        23          57              3

10. Do you think your school begins classes too early in the morning, too late, or at about the right time?

                  Too     Too    About the       No
                 early    late   right time    opinion
6/28/99 ALL        42       4        53           *
6/28/99 Fairfax    56       1        43           0
6/28/99 Montco.    47       1        52           1
6/28/99 PG         15      14        72           0
6/28/99 DC          9      11        81           0

10aa. (Of those who said too early or too late in Q10) Do you feel strongly about that or not?

               ------Early-------    -------Late--------   About   No
                NET  Strgly.   Not    NET   Strgly.   Not   Right   op.
6/28/99 ALL      42    30       11      4      3        1     53     *
6/28/99 Fairfax  56    39       16      1      1        0     43     0
6/28/99 Montco.  47    36       11      1      1        0     52     1
6/28/99 PG       15    11        3     14     10        4     72     0
6/28/99 DC*       9     7        1     11      9        2     81     0

*Small Sample Size

10a. And what about the school year: Do you think the school year is too long, too short or about the right length?

                  Too     Too     About the         No
                  long   short   right length    opinion
6/28/99 ALL        32       5        62              1
6/28/99 Fairfax    46       4        49              1
6/28/99 Montco.    19       9        71              1
6/28/99 PG         30       5        64              1
6/28/99 DC         32       7        62              0

10b. Generally speaking, would you favor or oppose eliminating the traditional summer break and adopting some form of a year-round school schedule?

                 Favor   Oppose   Depends (vol.)    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        32      60            7              1
6/28/99 Fairfax    36      55            7              2
6/28/99 Montco.    29      59           11              1
6/28/99 PG         29      63            7              2
6/28/99 DC         25      65           10              *

10c. (Of those teachers who do not solely teach special education) In how many of your academic classes do you regularly assign homework? In all of your academic classes, most of your classes, some of your classes, just a few of your classes or none of your classes?

                                                         Don't 
                ---All/Most----        ----Few/None---   Teach 
                NET   All  Most  Some  NET   Few   None  (vol.)
6/28/99 ALL      80    72    8     6    9     5      4      5
6/28/99 Fairfax  85    77    7     6    5     4      1      4
6/28/99 Montco.  82    74    8     5    9     5      3      5
6/28/99 PG       79    70    8     7   11     7      4      3
6/28/99 DC       88    79    9     7    2     2      0      3

10d. (Of those teachers who do not solely teach special education) Can you generalize about the number of hours of homework you assign your classes per week, or does it vary widely from class to class?

                Generalize    Varies    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL          61          39           *
6/28/99 Fairfax      63          37           0
6/28/99 Montco.      62          38           0
6/28/99 PG           61          39           0
6/28/99 DC           60          39           1

11. (Of teachers who can generalize the number of hours they assign homework to their classes) On average, about how many hours of homework do you assign to your students each week?

                  1-3   4-6   7 or more   No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        63   31       5            *
6/28/99 Fairfax    73   21       5            0
6/28/99 Montco.    61   35       4            0
6/28/99 PG         52   39       6            0
6/28/99 DC         36   43      17            0

11a. (Of teachers who said the hours of homework assigned varies widely) Thinking about the academic class that you give the most homework to. In an average week, about how many hours of homework did you give to this class?

                  1-3   4-6   7 or more   No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        48   32       15           0

Note: Sample size too small to show regional data.

11b. (Of teachers who said the hours of homework assigned varies widely) Now thinking about the academic class that you give the least homework to. In an average week, about how many hours of homework did you give?

                  1-3   4-6   7 or more   No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        68    8       1            3

Note: Sample size too small to show regional data.

12. (Of those teachers who do not solely teach special education) Overall, what percentage of your students fully complete their homework on time?

                 50% or less   51-74%   75% or more   No opinion
6/28/99 ALL           39          18         43            *
6/28/99 Fairfax       31          19         50            1
6/28/99 Montco.       29          24         46            1
6/28/99 PG            54          18         28            0
6/28/99 DC            64          12         25            0

16. (Of teachers who do not solely teach special education) Thinking back to the start of this school year, what percentage of your students arrived in your classroom sufficiently prepared to handle the coursework in your class?

                  50% or less   51-80%   81-90%   91% or more   No opin.
6/28/99 ALL        26             38       22         13           1
6/28/99 Fairfax    22             27       32         17           1
6/28/99 Montco.    18             46       18         17           1
6/28/99 PG         45             30       19          6           1
6/28/99 DC         49             33        7          8           2

17. Do you feel you get too much, too little or about the right amount of support from your school's principal in disciplining unruly students?

                     Too      Too       About the        No
                     much    little    right amount    opinion
6/28/99 ALL            *       36          62             3
6/28/99 Fairfax        0       31          67             2
6/28/99 Montco.        1       23          75             2
6/28/99 PG             1       43          54             2
6/28/99 DC             1       41          55             3

18. Do you feel you get too much, too little or about the right amount of support from parents in disciplining unruly students?

                     Too      Too       About the        No
                     much    little    right amount    opinion
6/28/99 ALL            1       60          38             2
6/28/99 Fairfax        2       57          40             1
6/28/99 Montco.        1       48          48             3
6/28/99 PG             0       67          31             2
6/28/99 DC             0       69          29             2

19. In recent years, have discipline problems at your school increased, decreased or stayed about the same?

                                          Stayed about    No
                   Increased   Decreased    the same    opinion
6/28/99 ALL           44          12           38          6
6/28/99 Fairfax       41          12           40          6
6/28/99 Montco.       38          13           37         12
6/28/99 PG            51           9           33          7 
6/28/99 DC            31          21           44          3

20. I'd like you to think about the classes you have taught this school year. In how many of your classes have you had a serious problem with .... : most of your classes, about half, just a few, or none of your classes?

a. Students who try to get by with doing as little work as possible

                       -Most/About half-  -Just a few/none-  N/A    No
                       NET   Most  Half   NET   Few   None  (vol.) opin.
6/28/99 ALL             56    31    25     44    40     3      *     *
6/28/99 Fairfax         57    32    25     43    41     2      0     0
6/28/99 Montco.         51    25    26     47    44     3      0     2
6/28/99 PG              67    45    22     33    27     5      0     0
6/28/99 DC              51    28    23     49    47     2      0     0

b. Students who are disruptive in class

                       -Most/About half-  -Just a few/none-  N/A    No
                       NET   Most  Half   NET   Few   None  (vol.) opin.
6/28/99 ALL             21     9    12     77    57    20      *     1
6/28/99 Fairfax         19    11     9     80    59    21      0     1
6/28/99 Montco.         20     9    11     79    59    21      0     1
6/28/99 PG              24    11    13     74    54    20      0     2
6/28/99 DC              13     3     9     87    60    27      0     0

c. Students who are violent or physically threatening

                      -Most/About half-  -Just a few/none-  N/A    No
                       NET   Most  Half   NET   Few   None  (vol.) opin.
6/28/99 ALL              3     1     2     96    28    69      0     1
6/28/99 Fairfax          1     1     1     99    19    79      0     0
6/28/99 Montco.          1     0     1     99    22    77      0     0
6/28/99 PG               7     3     4     93    30    63      0     0
6/28/99 DC               1     1     0     99    32    67      0     1

d. Students who do not read and speak English well enough to keep up with the rest of the class

                       -Most/About half-  -Just a few/none-  N/A    No
                       NET   Most  Half   NET   Few   None  (vol.) opin.
6/28/99 ALL             11     6     5     85    44    41      3     1
6/28/99 Fairfax          9     7     2     89    49    39      2     0
6/28/99 Montco.          8     4     4     87    50    37      4     1
6/28/99 PG              17     8     9     79    41    38      3     1
6/28/99 DC              15     7     9     78    45    33      5     1

e. Overcrowding in the classroom

                       -Most/About half-  -Just a few/none-  N/A    No
                       NET   Most  Half   NET   Few   None  (vol.) opin.
6/28/99 ALL             29    18    11     70    25    45      1     *
6/28/99 Fairfax         27    16    11     72    19    53      1     0
6/28/99 Montco.         28    19     9     69    29    40      2     1
6/28/99 PG              37    25    11     62    26    36      2     0
6/28/99 DC              23    13    10     76    24    52      0     1

f. Students who come to class under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs

                       -Most/About half-  -Just a few/none-  N/A    No
                       NET   Most  Half   NET   Few   None  (vol.) opin.
6/28/99 ALL              2     1     1     96    42    54      *     1
6/28/99 Fairfax          1     1     0     96    40    56      2     1
6/28/99 Montco.          1     0     1     98    49    49      0     1
6/28/99 PG               3     1     2     95    51    44      0     2
6/28/99 DC               2     0     2     96    42    54      0     2

21. In the past school year, about how many students have you caught cheating on a test?

                  Mean
6/28/99 ALL        6.9
6/28/99 Fairfax    6.1
6/28/99 Montco.    7.3
6/28/99 PG         9.5
6/28/99 DC         5.4

22. In the past school year, have any of your students come to class appearing to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        53    46         1
6/28/99 Fairfax    52    47         1
6/28/99 Montco.    51    48         1
6/28/99 PG         60    38         2
6/28/99 DC         56    42         3

23. Would you say there are any students in your classes of whom you currently feel physically afraid, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        12    88         *
6/28/99 Fairfax     9    91         0
6/28/99 Montco.    12    88         0
6/28/99 PG         14    86         0
6/28/99 DC          6    93         1

24. Has a student ever threatened to harm you physically, or not? (If answer is yes then ask: Has this happened in the past school year, or not?)

                  -------------Yes------------------           No
                  NET   Past year   Not in past year    No    opin.
6/28/99 ALL        45       16             30           55      0
6/28/99 Fairfax    36        7             29           64      0
6/28/99 Montco.    42        9             32           58      0
6/28/99 PG         59       27             31           41      0
6/28/99 DC         48       20             28           52      0

25. Has there ever been a shooting at a school where you've taught? (If answer is yes then ask: Did this happen while you were teaching there, or not?)

                  -------------Yes-------------           No
                  NET   While there   Not there    No    opin.
6/28/99 ALL        17       11            6        82      1
6/28/99 Fairfax    21       13            7        79      1
6/28/99 Montco.     8        6            3        92      0
6/28/99 PG         37       24           12        61      2
6/28/99 DC         43       37            6        57      0

27. Have you personally ever heard a student threaten someone's life?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        37    63         1
6/28/99 Fairfax    34    66         0
6/28/99 Montco.    26    74         1
6/28/99 PG         47    53         1
6/28/99 DC         34    65         1

27a. (Of teachers who heard a student threaten someone's life) Was this in the past school year, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        51    49         0

Note: Sample size too small to show regional data.

27b. (Of teachers who heard a student threaten someone's life) Did you report this to school authorities, police or parents, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        92     8         0

Note: Sample size too small to show regional data.

27/27a/27b Table:

                ---------------------Yes------------------
                      -----Past Yr----  --Not in Past Yr--         No
                Total NET  Report  Not   NET   Report  Not   No   opin.
6/28/99 ALL      37    19    17     2     18     17     1    63     1  
6/28/99 Fairfax  34    13    10     3     21     18     2    66     0
6/28/99 Montco.  26    12    11     1     14     13     1    74     1
6/28/99 PG       47    27    24     4     19     18     2    53     1
6/28/99 DC       34    17    15     2     17     16     1    65     1

29. This school year, have you taught any courses where you think you were required to cover too much material, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        36    64         0
6/28/99 Fairfax    37    62         0
6/28/99 Montco.    39    61         0
6/28/99 PG         39    61         0
6/28/99 DC         26    74         0

30. This school year, have you taught any courses where you think you were required to cover too little material, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL         6    94         *
6/28/99 Fairfax     5    94         1
6/28/99 Montco.     4    96         0
6/28/99 PG          4    96         0
6/28/99 DC          4    95         1

32. Now I would like to ask you a few questions about student promotion, in general. Do you approve or disapprove of passing students on to the next grade as long as they try hard and attend class regularly, even if they have not mastered the subject matter?

                  Approve    Disapprove    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL           8          88             3
6/28/99 Fairfax       4          93             3
6/28/99 Montco.      12          83             5
6/28/99 PG            8          87             5
6/28/99 DC           11          83             5

32a. How common is that at your school?

                 -----Common--------   -------Not common---------   No
                 NET   Very   Fairly   NET   Not too   Not at all  opin.
6/28/99 ALL       34    12       21     58      43         15        8
6/28/99 Fairfax   27     9       17     65      50         15        8
6/28/99 Montco.   33    10       23     59      42         17        8
6/28/99 PG        56    24       32     34      25          8       11
6/28/99 DC        51    25       25     40      29         11        9

32b. Do you approve or disapprove of passing problem students who have not mastered the subject matter simply to keep them moving through the system?

                                         Depends       No
                 Approve    Disapprove    (vol.)     opinion
6/28/99 ALL          1          98          *          *
6/28/99 Fairfax      1          99          1          0 
6/28/99 Montco.      3          94          1          2 
6/28/99 PG           1          98          1          1 
6/28/99 DC           0          99          1          0

32c. How common is that at your school? (REPEAT IF NECESSARY: Passing problem students who have not mastered the subject matter simply to keep them moving through the system?)

                 -----Common--------   -------Not common---------   No
                 NET   Very   Fairly   NET   Not too   Not at all  opin.
6/28/99 ALL       29    10       19     62      40         22        9
6/28/99 Fairfax   22     8       14     69      45         24        9
6/28/99 Montco.   22     7       15     68      43         25       10
6/28/99 PG        47    18       30     40      29         11       13
6/28/99 DC        38    15       23     53      31         21        9

32d. As you may know, merit pay programs tie teachers' salary to evaluations of their teaching. In general, would you support or oppose some form of a merit pay program being instituted at your school?

                                     Have a merit pay    No
                 Support    Oppose    program (vol.)    opin.
6/28/99 ALL        42         53             *            5
6/28/99 Fairfax    40         55             1            4
6/28/99 Montco.    39         54             0            7
6/28/99 PG         50         47             0            4
6/28/99 DC         34         62             1            4

33. How many teachers in your school would you say have outstanding teaching skills?

               -----All/Most-----            -----Few/None-----     No
               NET    All    Most    Some    NET    Few    None    opin.
6/28/99 ALL      60     3     57      32       6      6      0       2
6/28/99 Fairfax  57     2     54      35       6      6      0       2
6/28/99 Montco.  71     6     65      26       1      1      0       2
6/28/99 PG       44     3     41      44      10     10      0       2
6/28/99 DC       53     4     49      29      15     15      0       2

34. How many teachers in your school would you say have poor teaching skills?

               -----All/Most-----            -----Few/None-----     No
               NET    All    Most    Some    NET    Few    None    opin.
6/28/99 ALL       1     0      1      28      69     64      5       2
6/28/99 Fairfax   0     0      0      27      71     69      2       2
6/28/99 Montco.   1     0      1      20      76     68      8       4
6/28/99 PG        5     0      5      44      49     47      2       2
6/28/99 DC        2     0      2      27      68     60      8       3

34a. Now I'd like you to think specifically about the teachers in your department or subject area. Is there someone there who should not be teaching?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        39    60         1
6/28/99 Fairfax    46    52         2
6/28/99 Montco.    39    60         2
6/28/99 PG         44    54         2
6/28/99 DC         30    69         1

35. Some people say one problem with some public school districts is that it is too difficult to fire an incompetent teacher. Is this true for your district, or not?

                  True   Not true    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        62       25           13
6/28/99 Fairfax    57       33            9
6/28/99 Montco.    66       22           12
6/28/99 PG         65       17           18
6/28/99 DC         41       44           15

40. Now I'd like you to think about your experiences with parents of students at your school. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "....." Is that strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree.

a. Without involved parents, it is very hard for a student to succeed in school

               -------Agree---------     ------Disagree-------      No
               NET   Strngly   Smewhat   NET   Strngly   Smewhat   opin.
6/28/99 ALL     95      80        15       4       3         1       *
6/28/99 Fairfax 95      76        19       5       3         2       0
6/28/99 Montco. 96      74        22       4       4         0       0
6/28/99 PG      97      85        12       3       2         1       0
6/28/99 DC      91      77        14       9       6         3       0

b. Most parents of underachieving students wait for their children to fail before they intervene

               -------Agree---------     ------Disagree-------      No
               NET   Strngly   Smewhat   NET   Strngly   Smewhat   opin.
6/28/99 ALL     86      50        37      13      11         2       1
6/28/99 Fairfax 81      41        40      17      14         2       2
6/28/99 Montco. 78      40        38      21      16         4       1
6/28/99 PG      92      60        32       8       7         1       0
6/28/99 DC      81      54        27      17      10         7       2

c. Most parents respect their children's teachers

               -------Agree---------     ------Disagree-------      No
               NET   Strngly   Smewhat   NET   Strngly   Smewhat   opin.
6/28/99 ALL     81      17        63      18      12         6       1
6/28/99 Fairfax 85      22        62      14       9         5       1
6/28/99 Montco. 81      20        61      17      14         4       1
6/28/99 PG      73      12        61      25      17         8       2
6/28/99 DC      82      30        52      17      11         6       1

d. Most parents try their best to help their children succeed in school

               -------Agree---------     ------Disagree-------      No
               NET   Strngly   Smewhat   NET   Strngly   Smewhat   opin.
6/28/99 ALL     75      18        57      25      19         6       *
6/28/99 Fairfax 80      21        59      20      16         4       0
6/28/99 Montco. 78      22        56      22      19         3       1
6/28/99 PG      63      17        46      37      27        10       0
6/28/99 DC      69      18        51      30      17        13       1

41. Thinking of all your students this year, for what percentage of these students would you say you've had contact with at least one of their parents? This can be contact initiated either by you or by the parent.

                  20% or less   21-50%   51-90%   91% or more
6/28/99 ALL        26             35       25         14
6/28/99 Fairfax    24             31       28         17
6/28/99 Montco.    29             38       25          7
6/28/99 PG         31             36       18         15
6/28/99 DC         18             26       36         20

42. How often do you get pressure from parents to change a student's grade? Often, sometimes, rarely, or never?

                ----Often/Sometimes----   ----Rarely/Never---     No
                NET   Often   Sometimes   NET   Rarely   Never   opin.
6/28/99 ALL      19      3        16       81     48       33      *
6/28/99 Fairfax  21      4        16       79     57       22      0
6/28/99 Montco.  17      4        14       83     50       33      0
6/28/99 PG       23      5        18       77     45       32      0
6/28/99 DC       18      1        17       82     40       42      0

42a. (Of those who said they get pressure from parents to change a grade often, sometimes, or rarely) Has that happened in this past year, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        57    43         0
6/28/99 Fairfax    54    46         0
6/28/99 Montco.    62    38         0
6/28/99 PG         66    34         0
6/28/99 DC         55    45         0

43. I am going to read you a statement, please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: A high school diploma from my school is no guarantee that the typical student has learned the basics.

               -------Agree---------     ------Disagree-------      No
               NET   Strngly   Smewhat   NET   Strngly   Smewhat   opin.
6/28/99 ALL     47      18        29      52      26        26       1
6/28/99 Fairfax 38      14        24      59      35        24       2
6/28/99 Montco. 38      13        25      60      26        34       2
6/28/99 PG      68      35        33      31      15        16       2
6/28/99 DC      54      30        25      44      23        21       1

43a. Do you personally enjoy being a classroom teacher, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        96     4         *
6/28/99 Fairfax    97     3         0
6/28/99 Montco.    95     4         1
6/28/99 PG         93     7         0
6/28/99 DC         97     3         0

43b. (Of those who enjoy being a classroom teacher) Now I'm going to mention a few reasons why some people enjoy teaching. For each, tell me whether it is a big reason, a small reason or not a reason why you, personally, enjoy being a teacher.

a. The chance to make a positive difference in the lives of your students.

                 ---------Reason--------
                         Big      Small      Not         No
                 NET    reason    reason   a reason    opinion
6/28/99 ALL       100      96         4        *           0
6/28/99 Fairfax   100      96         4        0           0
6/28/99 Montco.   100      97         3        0           0
6/28/99 PG        99       97         2        1           0  
6/28/99 DC        99       95         5        1           0

b. The amount of job security you have as a teacher.

                 ---------Reason--------
                         Big      Small      Not         No
                 NET    reason    reason   a reason    opinion
6/28/99 ALL       73       24        49       27           *
6/28/99 Fairfax   66       19        47       33           1
6/28/99 Montco.   74       37        37       26           0
6/28/99 PG        74       22        52       26           0  
6/28/99 DC        63       13        50       35           1

c. The feeling that you are doing something worthwhile for society.

                ---------Reason--------
                         Big      Small      Not         No
                 NET    reason    reason   a reason    opinion
6/28/99 ALL       98       89        10        1          *
6/28/99 Fairfax   99       89        10        1          0
6/28/99 Montco.   99       87        12        1          0
6/28/99 PG        98       83        15        2          0  
6/28/99 DC        97       89         7        3          1

d. The amount of vacation and other free time you have.

                 ---------Reason--------
                         Big      Small      Not         No
                 NET    reason    reason   a reason    opinion
6/28/99 ALL       78       35        43       22          *
6/28/99 Fairfax   73       28        45       27          0 
6/28/99 Montco.   75       35        40       24          1 
6/28/99 PG        77       38        38       23          0  
6/28/99 DC        78       38        40       22          0

e. The opportunity to have day-to-day contact with young people.

                 ---------Reason--------
                         Big      Small      Not         No
                 NET    reason    reason   a reason    opinion
6/28/99 ALL       97       88         9        3           *
6/28/99 Fairfax   99       88        11        1           0
6/28/99 Montco.   98       88        10        2           0
6/28/99 PG        98       88        10        2           0  
6/28/99 DC        94       86         8        5           1

43c. Is there any other big reason why you, personally, enjoy being a teacher?

                                            ALL  Faifax  Montco.  PG  DC
Nothing/No other reason                      29    25       29    31  24
The subject matter/enjoy teaching that 
subject/learning more about my subject       14    19       14     8  10
The opporunity to have day-to-day 
contact with young people/like working 
with student/I like to help people/young 
people I love kids/interacting with kids     11    10       11    13  14 
The chance to make a positive difference 
in the lives of your students                 9     8        4     8  18
Love/enjoy teaching in general/
It's fun/teaching is fun                      8     6        7    11   7
Enjoy it when the children understand/
get it/learn                                  6     8        5     7   6
The challenge of teaching/every day is 
different/it's an adventure                   5     8       11     2   6
Personal satisfaction                         4     5        2     2   6
I'm good at teaching/good at what I do/
Have a talent for it                          3     3        4     5   3
Watching the personal and academic 
growth of children                            3     3        2     4   7
The feeling that you are doing something 
worthwhile for society                        3     2        3     5   3
Sharing/passing on the knowledge that I have  3     5        1     2   2
The things I learn from the children          3     3        3     1   1
Enjoy when children come back and thank you   3     2        1     3   5
Seeing the children succeed in life/
And in their fields                           2     2        3     0  11
Enjoy coaching                                2     1        2     2   1
The freedom I get/like being my own boss/
In charge of a classroom                      2     1        5     6   1
The amount of vacation and other free time 
you have/hours are good for parents/hours 
coincide with those of my children            2     3        2     2   3
The other teachers/educators/ 
people I work with                            2     3        5     0   1
Keeps me young                                2     3        3     1   0
Can be a role model/mentor for children       1     1        1     1   3
Love to broaden the student's horizons        1     1        2     1   1
Misc.                                         1     1        3     2   1
Teach the students a skill/
Skills they will use in the real world        1     1        1     1   0
Enjoy the creative aspects of teaching        1     1        2     2   2
Like teaching the special needs kids/
Kids with disabilities                        1     1        1     1   1
It is what I always wanted to do              1     1        0     0   1
The amount of job security you have as
a teacher/good benefits                       1     0        0     1   0
Don't know/No opinion                         *     0        1     2   1

44. Have you ever considered leaving education, or not?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        61    39        0
6/28/99 Fairfax    59    41        0 
6/28/99 Montco.    54    46        0 
6/28/99 PG         66    34        0
6/28/99 DC         64    36        0

44a. (Of teachers who have considered leaving education) Why is that?

                                       ALL   Faifax   Montco.   PG   DC
Salary/pay/money is not enough          34     37       23      41   24
Wanted a change/wanted to change 
career/pursue other interests           14     17       22       9   17
Lack of support/respect from parnets/
administration/society                  12     13       10      14   15
Too much stress/burn out/exhaustion     11     11       13      12    8
Frustration with student attitudes/
not being able to get through to them   11     13       13       5    8
Frustration with school administration/
bureaucracy/policies                    10      8        6      10   21
The time element/takes up all my time/
hours are too long                       7      6        8       2    3
General frustration/job dissatisfaction  6      6        4       7    5
The amount of paperwork required         6      6       10       3    3
Discipline problems                      6      2       10       8    4
The work load is great/too much work     5      4       12       2    4
Lack of funding/resources available to 
the schools                              4      2        0       6    7
Lack of opportunity for professional 
Growth                                   3      5        4       5    2
Poor working conditions                  3      1        1       9    2
Had a bad day/bad year/bad 
teaching experience                      3      7        2       1    0
I left and came back                     2      2        2       6    3
Misc.                                    2      1        6       2    3
To continue my studies                   2      2        1       1    5
Getting close to/considering reitrement  2      1        3       2    3
Violence/Lack of safety                  2      2        1       0    2
Don't know                               *      0        1       0    0

45. Thinking about the overall perceptions people have about the public high schools in your district, do you think these high schools are underrated, overrated or are public perceptions about right?

                  Underrated    Overrated    About right    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL           42            11            43              3
6/28/99 Fairfax       31            17            49              3
6/28/99 Montco.       35            15            46              4
6/28/99 PG            43             8            46              3
6/28/99 DC            58             5            34              4

46. If you could teach in any school district in the greater Washington area, which would it be?

                             ALL    Faifax    Montco.    PG    DC
Prince George's, Maryland      5       0         0       29     1
Montgomery, Maryland          26      14        93       28    18
Howard, Maryland               8       1         2       12     0
Calvert, Maryland              2       0         0        2     0
Charles, Maryland              2       0         0        1     0
St. Mary's, Maryland           2       0         0        0     0
Anne Arundel, Maryland         8       0         0        3     0
Fairfax, Virginia             22      77         1        5     7
Arlington, Virginia            3       2         1        2     2
Alexandria, Virginia           2       1         0        0     1
Loudon, Virginia               3       0         0        0     0
Prince William, Virginia       6       1         0        0     1
Washington, DC                 6       0         1        4    63
None                           *       0         0        1     1
Other                          1       0         1        1     0
Don't Know/No opinion          5       4         2       12     6

Demographics

D1. Are you teaching any courses in a subject in which you DID NOT major or minor in college?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        17    82         1
6/28/99 Fairfax    18    82         0
6/28/99 Montco.    21    79         0
6/28/99 PG         19    80         1
6/28/99 DC         17    83         0

D2. Are you fully credentialled in every subject you teach, or not?

                              No credential for    No
                  Yes    No    subject (vol.)    opinion
6/28/99 ALL        91     8           1             *
6/28/99 Fairfax    91     7           1             0
6/28/99 Montco.    91     8           1             0
6/28/99 PG         88    11           1             1
6/28/99 DC         91     8           1             0

909. What was the last degree you completed?

                                   Master's                        No
                 Bach.   Master's   plus 30   Doctorate   Prof.   opin.
6/28/99 ALL       28       52         15          3         2       0
6/28/99 Fairfax   29       51         12          6         1       0
6/28/99 Montco.   22       51         25          2         1       0
6/28/99 PG        31       48         16          2         2       0
6/28/99 DC        21       46         19         11         2       0

D4a. (MD or VA Teachers) Do you live in the county in which you teach?

                   Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        65    35         0
6/28/99 Fairfax    74    26         0
6/28/99 Montco.    72    28         0
6/28/99 PG         50    50         0
6/28/99 DC         NA    NA        NA

D4b. (DC Teachers) Do you live in the district?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        57    43         0
6/28/99 Fairfax    NA    NA        NA
6/28/99 Montco.    NA    NA        NA
6/28/99 PG         NA    NA        NA
6/28/99 DC         57    43         0

D.5 Do you have any children?

                  Yes    No    No opinion
6/28/99 ALL        69    31         0
6/28/99 Fairfax    68    32         0
6/28/99 Montco.    67    33         0
6/28/99 PG         66    34         0
6/28/99 DC         70    30         0

D.6 (Of Teachers who have children) Do they, or did they, attend public or private school?

                         Private/     Mixed - public   Too young    No
                 Public  Parochial   & private (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
6/28/99 ALL        71        7              11             11        0
6/28/99 Fairfax    67        6              14             13        0
6/28/99 Montco.    80        2               9              9        0
6/28/99 PG         67       14              11              8        0
6/28/99 DC         60        9              25              5        0

HOW THE TEACHERS POLL WAS DONE:
Results of this The Washington Post teachers poll came from telephone interviews with 802 randomly selected public high school classroom teachers in the greater Washington region, conducted May 24 through June 28. The bulk of the interviewing was done in the District (151 interviews); Fairfax (160 interviews); Montgomery (190 interviews); and Prince George's (131 interviews). The Post attempted to interview the same number of teachers in Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The number of surveys actually completed in each county differs because more teachers in some counties agreed to be interviewed. It was necessary to contact a greater number of teachers in D.C. than in the other three districts because proportionally fewer teachers responded to requests for interviews.

A total of 170 additional interviews were conducted with high school teachers in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Howard and St. Mary's counties in Maryland; and Arlington, Loudoun, and Prince William counties and the City of Alexandria in Virginia. In order to characterize accurately the views of all teachers in the region, the data were statistically balanced to adjust for the fact that fewer teachers were interviewed in these jurisdictions. In this statistical "weighting" process, each school district's responses were adjusted to reflect the proportion of Washington area teachers in that district.

The margin of error for the regional results is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The margin of error for individual districts reported is as follows: D.C. and Montgomery, plus or minus 7 percentage points; Fairfax, plus or minus 7.5 percentage points; and Prince George's plus or minus 8 percentage points. Sampling error is only one source of error in this or any other opinion poll.

In order to locate respondents, lists of public high school teachers were obtained from a variety of sources including school websites, publicly available databases, and in some instances the school districts themselves. A specified number of teachers were selected at random from the lists and sent a series of letters and postcards requesting their participation. The teachers were contacted by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, PA, in order to conduct the survey or schedule a time to do so. Attempts were made to call teachers at their homes.

Respondents include regular classroom teachers, special education teachers, vocational education teachers (both those in vocational high schools and those in standard high schools), and those who teach English as a Second Language. Overall, about 45 percent of those in the target sample list were interviewed, a response rate similar to that obtained in large national telephone polls. Any differences between those teachers who chose to respond and those who did not represent another potential source of error in this survey.


© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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