After reading the letter, “Teacher Experience” in last week’s edition, I am obligated to respond. The letter’s writer, Cindy Couture, is a retired Fountain Hills High School teacher. Actually, she taught English to my now-grown daughter and son. Based upon that exposure, I can attest that she did an exceptional job in that role. I’m confident that many other students and parents would agree with that assessment and applaud her ability. Nevertheless, I was surprised at and disappointed in some of the assertions in her letter.
The letter opened expressing “disgust...that FHUSD plans to ‘enhance customer experience.’” Further, “there is too much emphasis on parent satisfaction.” Wow! It should be clearly evident that students and their parents are the “customers” of the school district. Parents are the source of the tax revenues which support the district, including teachers’ salaries. With open enrollment in Arizona, parents are the primary decision-makers about which school their children will attend. So, how is it in any way appropriate or rational to discount satisfying one of the customers, the parents?
The letter continues to list things that have been “dumped on teachers,” like communication with parents and student “discipline.” In my experience, including my personal experience as a student, parent and a teacher of children and adults, communication and discipline have always been part of the practical and essential role and responsibilities of a teacher.
Later, we read, “Let teachers be the decision-makers.” Great teachers who take their role seriously are an asset to our children and their input is valuable. However, especially for younger children, parents are rightful decision-makers. We elect school governing boards to determine policies. In turn, administrators, teachers and support staff are tasked with implementing those policies to deliver a quality education to the students, our ultimate “customers.”