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Poll shocker: Almost 40% favor firing or suspending no-show teachers

Public closely divided on teachers refusing to return to classroom if schools reopened for in-person learning.

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A student participates in a Zoom lesson from classroom.
A student participates in a Zoom lesson from a classroom.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Updated: February 3, 2021 - 3:21pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Voters are closely split on how to respond to teachers who refuse to return to the classroom if schools are reopened for in-person learning.

In a new Just the Poll with Scott Rasmussen, a combined 39% favored suspending (21%) or firing (18%) no-show teachers, while 45% said they should be "allowed to stay home."

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Just the News Poll, What should happen if schools are re-opened for in person learning and teachers refuse to return to the classroom
Just the News Daily Poll
RMG Research

The finding comes as Chicago remains locked in a tense standoff with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) about how and when to reopen public schools.

The city had ordered teachers for grades K-8 to return to classrooms on Monday to prepare for a return to in-person learning and vowed to lock out no-show teachers from access to their digital, distance-learning tools. 

After the union threatened to strike in retaliation, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and public school chief Janice Jackson blinked on Monday night, allowing teachers to continue providing remote instruction pending further negotiation on terms for a return to classrooms.

Opinion on responses to no-show teachers diverges largely along partisan lines.

Among Republicans, a combined 59% favor a hard line (firing or suspending teachers), while 28% say the teachers should be allowed to stay home. Perhaps surprisingly, however, even a quarter of Democrats back disciplinary action against no-shows, with 12% for firing and another 12% for suspending.

Although studies show that minority students have suffered disproportionate academic harm from remote learning, African-Americans (58%) and Hispanics (59%) are much more likely than whites (40%) to favor allowing refusenik teachers to stay home and continue teaching remotely.

Click here to see the poll's methodology and sample demographics.

Click here to see the poll's cross-demographic tabulations.

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