Letter: Morale at Mingus at an all-time low


The news story and editorial comments about events at Mingus Union High School in last Sunday's Verde Independent would lead a casual reader to believe that teachers run the school, the superintendent can do no wrong, the school board must under no circumstances admit that mistakes have been made, and student education doesn't matter at MUHS.

Of course, all these assumptions are wrong, as anyone, including staff reporters or seasoned editors, would discover by actually spending a few hours at the school talking with teachers, administrators, and students. Some awareness of recent institutional history might also be in order.

The Mingus Union Education Association, the school board, and the administration have for years worked together to provide a high school education second to none in the state of Arizona. Student sports built character and brought pride to our community. Extra-curricular activities and community events at Mingus continue to provide opportunities for students and non-students alike.

None of this has been easy. Dedicated teachers and community support have always been the backbone of a successful school, and when times get tough all parties work together to find solutions. In the past, after much give and take, teachers and administration have made the compromises that have allowed Mingus to provide the education opportunities for students that parents and the community deserve.

What has changed? As a recently retired Mingus employee after 13 years, I can only say that I have never seen morale at the school at such a low level. Perhaps all parties share some blame. Perhaps. But when professional, dedicated, and caring teachers and retirees, all long time community members, express such discontent, the local press should pursue some in-depth investigative reporting.

Does the teacher's union control the school? Questionable. Is there a budget crunch? There has been a "budget crunch" ever since I worked at Mingus. Are all board members unreasonable? Of course not. Does the local community support quality education? Always has. Does the state of Arizona value education for all students? Ask your local legislator. Then ask s/he why Arizona is consistently near or at the bottom of almost every educational measure.

It should be obvious that it takes more than dedicated teachers, caring school board members, competent administrators and a supportive local community to guarantee a quality education.

Next time, how about less inflammatory headlines and sensational stories. Let's cut to the heart of the matter. Tax cuts and budget cuts always seem to go together. And where is that upcoming bake sale to raise money for education?

Michael Durgain



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