Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc. #00210

Submission Number:
00210
Commenter:
Rebecca Christopherson
Organization:
TESS (Talent Education Suzuki School)
State:
Connecticut
Initiative Name:
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc.
Matter Number:

131-0118

I am concerned about the recent interference by the FTC with regards to ethics guidelines published by MTNA. The ban on soliciting students who currently study with another teacher does not restrain trade but protects teachers as well as the consumer from scrupulous teachers who prey on uneducated consumers. As the owner and CEO of the TESS, LLC in Norwalk, CT, I can attest to the fact that this ethical guideline is necessary not only to protect teachers, but to protect consumers as well. This guideline has been acknowledged by ethical music teachers for as long as teachers have been teaching - it is traditionally unethical to directly steal another teacher’s student. This doesn’t mean that it is unethical to accept transfer students should the consumer exercise open market options. This process is not different from an athlete seeking a new coach. It is fine for the athlete to desire new guidance, but it is not acceptable for a coach to recruit players at will from other coaches. It disrupts their child’s studies, harms their learning process and personal relationships, and often threatens the child’s relationship with music and their perception of their ability and resulting musical dreams. In professional sports, the recruiting of athletes is highly regulated. From the NCAA website: NCAA member schools have adopted rules to create an equitable recruiting environment that promotes student-athlete well-being. The rules define who may be involved in the recruiting process, when recruiting may occur and the conditions under which recruiting may be conducted. Recruiting rules seek, as much as possible, to control intrusions into the lives of student-athletes. The NCAA defines recruiting as “any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or their parents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests for the purpose of securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program.”The point of this is obviously to protect students and their families from predatory coaches and educational institutions. Music teachers and their clients deserve the same protection and consideration. I am asking that the FTC devote their time and attention to other, more troubling matters (pediatricians charging $10 a page for a copy of medical records for clients who are leaving their practice?), and leave the music education industry to regulate itself. It has come to my attention that they have also approached the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and similar band oriented professional organizations. Our entire industry is in agreement with regards to this matter. Can everyone be wrong?