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Do you have feedback for Federal Way Public Schools? | Letter
I hope the Federal Way Mirror can continue to be a vehicle for communicating issues expressed by concerned members of the community to generate thoughts from the community at large.
Only through public response can we gauge whether comments and concerns are indicative of broadly supported views.
Over 15 years ago, there were seminars about treating complaints like they were made of gold. They gave new meaning to the phrase, “being behind the eight ball.”
It was like a “Rule of Eights” that went like this: one person courageous enough to complain to an organization usually had eight others who remained silent. Every person who had a bad experience generally told eight more people about it.
On the other hand, a person who had an excellent experience usually told only three people about it. Given how bad news travels faster, the eight people told about somebody’s negative experience told another three about what happened to that person.
So from one bad experience resulting in a complaint, the bad news spread eight times greater than anything good done by the organization. The last piece was that it took eight great experiences to erase the one bad experience. The moral to the story was to treat complaints like gold because they tell you for free what is going wrong in the organization.
Why is this relevant? The community was provided a district-wide survey and it only received a 30 percent response rate, but of those responding there were 20 percent who were dissatisfied.
One could say 80 percent are happy, but it could also mean that the 20 percent represented concerns that are eightfold in magnitude. If there is a silent majority of dissatisfied community members out there, we need to understand what the issues are through our lines of communication with the community. Once we identify the issues, then we can all collectively work toward solutions.
It really does need collective participation to solve problems because it is often all too easy and completely unrealistic to put every problem at the door of teachers and the schools.
If a child lacks adult supervision and good role models, the teacher cannot become a “shape shifter” who transforms into a police officer or military veteran of a particular ethnicity, or with that unique and compelling story of success relevant for that child.
But we can certainly find members of the Federal Way community who might be that person who can visit a classroom, community function or place of worship and show this child that by self-determination and latching on to all the ropes and ladders that our community offers them, they too can truly succeed, despite what they may believe to be an impossible situation at home.
The issues in education are complex and take strong community involvement to create great results.
Thank you for the opportunity to reach out to the community at large. It would be a wonderful time in Pollyanna if Federal Way Public Schools was perfection in itself, but that is highly unlikely, so I hope the Federal Way community starts to send great nuggets of gold our way.
Hiroshi Eto, Federal Way Public Schools board