Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

October 4, 2006

McGee will show hers if Lawson will

Frisco district wants to open art teacher’s personnel file:

FRISCO — The Frisco school district wants to open an art teacher’s personnel file to the public to defend itself against her claim that she was reprimanded for allowing a fifth-grade student to see nude art.

Frisco district wants to open art teacher’s personnel file:

Superintendent Rick Reedy sent a letter to McGee on Tuesday asking for permission to open her personnel file so the district could respond to criticism over her case.”

I believe some of the information being disseminated to the press is not true and is misleading, especially the allegation that the district has disciplined a teacher for exposing students to nude art,” Reedy said in a prepared statement. “I think we can all agree that the facts should be made available for full review and open discussion.”

Well of course it’s not going to be in the files since the district has already stated that all previous warnings were verbal. That’s part of the problem. It may just be a bluff but apparently McGee is willing to open her file if the district is willing to open “theirs.”

Frisco district wants to open art teacher’s personnel file:

Dunn said he is likely to deny the district’s request unless it also agrees to open the personnel files of Reedy and Nancy Lawson, the principal of Fisher Elementary School.

I think it may be a little late for the district to come “clean” since it has already stated multiple times that the other problems weren’t formally documented since principals often like to operate “informally” to try to solve their problems.

So what are the possibilities?

The file contains previous evaluations that indicate McGee had been warned about problems before. Then why has the district been going on about verbal evaluations?

The file contains documentation regarding the parental complaint. Not likely because the district already said it wasn’t an issue and the district has been going on about verbal evalutions. I can just see some spokesperson pointing to an open file and saying, “see, no complaint!” Duh.

At this point, anything the district decides to show that would document problems with McGee would have to contridict two weeks worth of statements that the performance directives were only put into writing at McGee’s request. Granted, the file may show that McGee’s previous evaluations weren’t as great as she made them out to be. However, if that’s the case then there should be documents that show what the principal did to improve the situation. Otherwise, it’s essentially, “gosh, Syndey, you really need to work on those lesson plans” and then a year later, the principal states, “you know, you really haven’t worked on those lesson plans yet.” As I’ve said before, the question is would the principal have begun to act on the problems if there hadn’t been a complaint?

So my guess is that the district has a file that shows McGee’s evaluations weren’t all that great and certain problems had been identified before. But I bet it also shows that the principal didn’t “formally” address these issues other than in the evaluations. Now why isn’t she being disicplined for failure to maintain adaquate personnel files if McGee is being disciplined for failure to maintain adaquate lesson plans?

And as for Reedy’s file? Maybe he’s behind on evaluating and giving written direction to principals?

5 Comments »

  1. How can you seriously guess what is or isn’t in the files without seeing them. FISD is not trying to hide her file, she is. If she wants to prove her case, then open the files to see if there were no other problems. Opening anybody else’s files is completely ridiculous. Their job performance is not in question.

    Comment by ME — October 4, 2006 @ 8:33 pm

  2. I admit it is only a guess. But the district is on the record in several places stating that McGee received no written notice of concerns until McGee requested them herself. This is from the district:

    “The employee’s principal denied that the teacher’s troubles started with a field trip as claimed. The principal stated that she had observed a need for performance improvement in a number of areas which she had verbally brought to the attention of the teacher as early as a meeting in May 2005. It was noted in the public meeting that after the teacher later complained that she had not been given written notice of such concerns, the principal responded by issuing a written memo detailing such matters.

    Furthermore, there shouldn’t be anything negative in the file about the parent complaint since they have also stated:

    No teachers’ job status would be jeopardized based on students’ incidental viewing of nude art.

    McGee and her lawyer have already admitted that her last evaluation had low marks. There is probably plenty of documentation dated after her evaluation and it is also possible that McGee didn’t meet the standards established by that documentation.

    But if all of the principal’s suggestions have been verbal before the last evaluation as stated by the district, what else should be in the file? Other teacher and parental complaints? If so, shouldn’t they have also be acted upon and documented by the principal? Has the principal been collecting “evidence” but not documenting it until McGee requested her to do so?

    Of course I don’t know what is in the file. My whole point has been that if there was a problem with McGee, the principal should have done something before the parent complaint. So I would argue that the principal’s job performance is in question as is the superintendent’s regarding maintaining and enforcing personnel issues.

    Comment by texased — October 4, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

  3. How else do you “Formally” address personnel issues if not is a teacher’s evaluation? Note this teacher was not fired. Her contract will not be renewed. This suggests that they did not have enough to break the contract outright but rather waited untill her contract was up. That is th nature of a contract. Once both sides have settled their obligations under said contract there is no further obligation.

    Comment by JO — October 5, 2006 @ 10:01 am

  4. IMO, the administration did her a favor to allow her to be paid till the school year is over. She should be thankful that she was not formally fired; atleast she can collect retirement without issue. Just a thought to ponder. Outside people might think we are “too small town” in our thinking, but I think it would be just like a small town to still help an employee out even if what they really wanted to do was fire her. It’s not easy firing a teacher. It’s not like a corporation works. So very different.

    At any rate, first we hear she was “let go” with pay from another school district due to substandard teacher performance and then hear of her being “publicized” in People Magazine. Amazing! Very telling of her character or lack there of! Someone is seeing dollar signs if you get my drift!!!

    Comment by Angel — October 6, 2006 @ 8:10 pm

  5. Some informative information to read here:

    http://www.friscoisd.org/news/mcgee_response_06oct.htm

    All in all, she was never fired because of the field trip. Matter of fact, she was never fired, only put on paid administrative leave because she was disturbing the learning environment.

    Interesting.

    Really you can see how the media would take her twisted-around-to-fit-her-needs information and sensationalize it to the public while the district’s hands were tied and could not respond fully for fear of privacy rights.

    Comment by Angel — October 11, 2006 @ 6:47 pm


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