Letters to the Editor
Sound Off: A Wrangler News forum to share your views


As a co-founder of the Kyrene Parents Cooperative, I had to respond to Doug Snover’s article on the Kyrene Parent Survey results. The article was factually correct in terms of the numbers reported, but their significance and what was read into them was not. 

The survey was intended to measure satisfaction of the Kyrene parents with the performance of the District THIS YEAR…Doug correctly notes that “the 2005 survey did not ask any specific questions about the controversial changes to the middle school schedule,” and that is an important and telling point. 

However, in the face of this fact he makes poor choice of sentence structure to state that there is criticism of the new middle school elective structure, and then in the next sentence that parents are satisfied with the exploratories. 

This implies an approval or happiness with the new plans which simply doesn’t exist. No parents have experienced the new model yet and such a survey cannot be used to assess their reception of the ideas. Indeed, based on the feedback we’ve received from over a thousand families and teachers, happiness is not likely. 

Read at face value, Doug’s article appears to state that the survey supports more than 90% of parents supporting the changes, which is simply not the case. The survey assessed how parents think their kids did this year, and they did great, and Kyrene teachers should be congratulated for that—their achievement should NOT be diminished in any way. However, for the administration to try and spin that into support of their ill-conceived middle school 5-period plan is disingenuous. 

I too believed Kyrene did well this year, and that my kids did well, that’s why I’m fighting so hard to save the Kyrene we know and love. What we will see next year will be a shadow of what we saw this year. It will, in truth, be very interesting to see the same survey results for NEXT year’s academic performance. But, oh yes, we won’t know, because the plan has no assessment mechanism defined other than seeing the test scores after the end of the school year, by which time it will be too late not only to change the plan as implemented, but also to replace it for the next academic year. There is also no definition in place for success or failure of the plan. It is truly incredible that the Board voted such a vacuous plan into place.

— Paul A. Scowen

Doug Snover responds:

The story simply and accurately states the results of a parent satisfaction survey taken at a time when some parents—certainly not all parents—--are upset about the middle school schedule changes. It does not, as Mr. Scowen suggests, “appear[s] to state that the survey supports more than 90 percent of parents supporting the changes.”

The article does report that 84 percent of middle school parents surveyed agreed that the exploratories curriculum is “appropriate” while four percent disagreed. There is nothing in the survey, or in the story, to suggest that these numbers were or were not influenced by the middle school schedule change.

Ironically, Mr. Scowen states that no one can assess parents’ reaction to the new schedule because it has not yet been put into practice, then follows up with his personal prediction that “happiness is not likely.”

Like Mr. Scowen, we will wait until the 2005-06 school year is under way and parents have a chance to see how their children fare under the new schedule to determine their level of satisfaction with the changes.

I am writing to voice my concern about military recruiting in our public schools. While I support the troops and the rights of a volunteer military, I do not support institutionalizing involuntary recruitment practices. The No Child Left Behind Legislation automatically gives the military the right to take any student’s private information without any form of parental permission or notification! This snooping into students’ private school information needs to stop! There is an opt-out provision in the legislation, but rarely are students or parents informed of it. I encourage students and parents all over our state to send a letter to their school’s administrators asking them to keep their information private! A sample form can be found at http://www.militaryfreezone. org/opt_out.

The students that attend our high schools do so to receive an education (or because they have to) but either way, they are not there to be fed lies about our government or military, and they do not submit personal information to their schools for the sake of potential recruitment. We can put an end to this! 

— Chloe N. Smith