Half of Utahns approve of a new Utah rule allowing those without teaching degrees to become teachers in public schools, while 46% disapprove.
The latest UtahPolicy.com survey from Dan Jones & Associates finds Utahns are nearly divided on the new policy allowing college graduates who have not been formally trained as teachers to become teachers in Utah’s public schools.
The new guidelines, known as the Academic Pathway to Teaching, allows schools to hire college graduates who have professional experience in the subject area they wish to teach, such as English or computer science, as teachers. Teachers hired under the APT program have to work under the mentorship of a traditional teacher for three years. They also have to pass the state test required for teacher certification, complete an ethics review and a background check.
The program is meant to address Utah’s acute teacher shortage. The State Office of Education says 42% of new teachers in Utah quit within five years of starting. A third of those who quit do so at the end of their first year in the classroom.
Another reason behind the new policy is a drop in the number of teachers graduating from Utah’s college’s while, at the same time, the school-age population in Utah is exploding.
The men we surveyed favored the alternative path for teachers by a 55-42% margin, while women were more ambivalent, slightly opposing the program 48-47%.
Republicans support the alternative path for teachers by 11-points, 54-43%. Not surprisingly, Democrats are opposed 60-35%. Independent voters are more divided on the question with 50% in favor and 45% opposed.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from September 1-9, 2016 among 605 likely Utah voters with a margin of error +/- 3.98%.