So it looks like we’ll never know after all. I still think that the principal’s handling of this situation warrants a “growth plan”equal to that of McGee’s. Lawson had already collected her data/evaluation before the museum trip but they weren’t revealed to McGee until after the trip. That, in of itself, is no big deal.
The April 18 appraisal included a “below expectations” mark on an item titled “policies, procedures and legal requirements.” In a related area of the form titled “Areas to Address,” it states “Appropriate Art substitute plans, specific lesson plans updated weekly. Appropriate monitoring during duty assignments.”While those marks and comments are dated April 18, another document indicates McGee appears to have become aware of her review only after the trip.
Or at least the paperwork part of it anyway.
In a May 11 memorandum, McGee states that the “evaluation was conducted April 18.” However, McGee states in the memo that a copy of the report did not reach her until April 28. That was two days after the field trip, according to documents, and one day after McGee was called into principal Nancy Lawson’s office to address the nudity complaint. McGee contends that she was “verbally admonished” by the principal at the meeting.
Even if McGee received it sooner, at this point there is no reason for me to have ever heard of Sydney McGee.
On May 4, McGee met with Gonzales and Lawson for the teacher’s yearly “summative appraisal conference,” in which the appraiser discusses the appraisal document with the teacher, according to documents. McGee was informed at this meeting that the administration wanted to place her on a “growth plan” to address areas of concern.McGee has said she viewed the growth plan as a preliminary step to eventual non-renewal of her contract.
Gosh, you think? Anyone who has worked with human resources knows that if you want to fire someone and you want to do it right, you have to some version of a growth plan to allow the person a chance to improve.
In her May 11 memorandum, McGee challenged the “below expectations” mark, saying “no negative written documentation was given to me prior with ‘areas to address,’ ” which she said is required by the state administrative code. She also disagreed with the substance of the mark.McGee said she would have expected to see documentation throughout the year had she been doing anything wrong in the classroom.
In fact, it’s not just people who deal with human resources but anyone who understands how evaluations are supposed to work as apparently McGee did.
The mark was upgraded to “proficient,” and the growth plan nixed, documents indicate. On May 17, McGee and Gonzales signed a revised appraisal document, with the “below expectations” mark upgraded to “proficient.”Also on May 17, Lawson and McGee met again to discuss her performance, documents indicate. Lawson produced a memorandum May 18 that summarized the discussion.
That memorandum included issues surrounding the museum field trip, including the nudity complaint, as one of five areas of concern about McGee’s performance. It also lays out a list of improvement measures that Lawson expected McGee to meet.
So here is the first sign that Lawson failed to administer her responsibilities properly. Obviously, she must have thought McGee had a point since she changed the evaluation and dumped the growth plan. Apparently, working “verbally” and “informally” to deal with issues as Frisco ISD has repeatedly said was the case, doesn’t meet state administrative code. Since she can’t have a growth plan because she has failed to documented the situation properly, what does Lawson do next? She creates a memo that lists areas for improvement and the infamous parent remark regarding nude statues. And I hear the name McGee and Frisco ISD.
In the meantime, McGee manages to convince the principal of another Frisco ISD school to hire her. The Frisco superintendent, Reedy blocks the transfer so as not to undermine a principal’s authority to discipline an employee. ( I thought this was just about helping a teacher improve her teaching?) We all know what happens next. McGee goes to the press with parent’s complaint.
Why doesn’t anyone think that Lawson and Reedy screwed up as well? If McGee’s job is to have complete lesson plans, isn’t it Lawson’s responsibility to have complete documentation that can stand up to the scrutiny of legal requirements? If it’s McGee’s job to project a professional appearance to maintain standards isn’t it Lawson’s job to appropriately select examples and issues that illustrate an employee’s weakness rather than a parent’s small mindedness? Come on! Everyone is telling me that the nude statue had nothing to do with the situation. Then why did Lawson bother to include it, especially if she had other legitimate concerns? It was a mistake for her to include it.
Then there’s superintendent Reedy. He’s all for supporting Lawson’s authority even though she has failed to administer it properly. I guess he didn’t think it was a big deal that Lawson had to retract her “below expectations” evaluation because, hey, McGee’s just an art teacher and everyone thinks she is a pain to work with anyway? (I would hate to be the social studies teacher that teaches flag burning is a first amendment right or an English teacher discussing race relations in Huckleberry Finn and not be on the good side of the principal.)
Did he try to find out why Lawson’s evaluations differed from her predecessor’s? Did he think that McGee should be concerned about a parent complaining about nude art? (BTW, for all his protests to the contrary, his answer has been a very subtle, yet still very public “yes.”) And finally, he’s settling because he screwed up and recommended “not renewing McGee’s contract” before having the appropriate paperwork. Think about it. The memo wasn’t an actual growth plan. There was no growth plan since Lawson screwed up. To start non-renewal, he would have had to have the same paperwork Lawson was missing. Since it seems unlikely that they were able to come up with a legitimate workplan based on her summer performance, he plowed ahead anyway, contributing to the grounds for a lawsuit.
Will someone tell me who’s evaluating Lawson and Reedy? Where are their growth plans?
Someone has pointed out that taken to extremes that you could use the analogy of a murderer getting off because someone didn’t read him his rights. Yeah, okay. So the police officer not only didn’t read the rights, admits that she didn’t read the rights, presents as a witness someone who swears the person did it because everyone of his “racial epitaph of your choice” does it, and the chief of police says none of this matters because the guy is a murderer. All the officer had to do was to do her job correctly and read the suspect her rights. Because she didn’t do her job, the murderer gets off.
We are a society of rules and laws that apply to everyone, not just the ones we like. And if society’s basic institution for instilling these rights is unable to adequately apply them itself, then there is a problem and blaming it on the press or McGee isn’t going to make it go away.
And I know the answer to the question of the post’s title, for the children’s sake, right? I just wonder if the adults involved have learned anything from this.