Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

October 23, 2006

Now there’s an idea

At the risk of being accused of beating a dead horse:

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Education Columnist Scott Parks:

School board members, especially in the suburbs, are not wily politicos. Most are community volunteers with busy lives and jobs. What they know about district affairs comes from the superintendent and his staff. And that flow of information can be tightly controlled.In the middle of a crisis, the independent investigator serves as a clean source of information for a school board president responsible for preserving the district’s image and credibility.

Frisco ISD should have followed the independent investigator model in the case of Sydney McGee, the elementary school art teacher who claimed that her principal retaliated against her for exposing students to art works of nude people at a Dallas museum.

Essentially, the Frisco district stuck to its story line for too long: “We’re right to want to fire Ms. McGee, and she’s wrong about it having anything to do with the art museum field trip. But we won’t tell you more.”

Ms. McGee and her attorney were allowed to define the story in the public mind, and part of their story was that Frisco administrators were covering up for each other.

Only after the story exploded and went nationwide did the district begin releasing some piecemeal information. Imagine the difference had Frisco ISD announced early on that an independent investigator would be hired. It would have snuffed out the cover-up charge.

2 Comments »

  1. I wouldn’t call their release of information “piecemealing” as Mr. Parks quotes in his article. There is a very factual timeline on their website. The fact is that she was not on the road to being fired or asked to go on paid leave until AFTER she went public crying wolf about nude art being the reason for a block in a tranfer. I repeat ONLY a denial of a transfer to another school in the district. This is the part that still gets me. It baffles me that no one else sees this pivotal turning point. A turning point McGee created herself. What is there to cover up? You don’t need an independent investigator to know this.

    The board was not spoon-fed by anyone. They were well aware of the process and appeals that McGee placed and the information she brought to the board about her “case.” They were witnesses (first hand)to the whole process, the denied transfer, and the reasons for that.

    I would also think that hiring an “outsider” for a crazy personnel issue as this is insane. There is a BIG difference between let’s say the DISD stealing/spending thousands of dollars in comparison to a teacher swirling up a media frenzy over initially just being blocked from being granted a tranfer.

    And, yes you (and I) are beating a dead horse to death.

    Comment by Angel — October 23, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

  2. […] Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Education Columnist Scott Parks: School board members, especially in the suburbs, are not wily politicos. Most are community volunteers with busy lives and jobs. What they know about district affairs comes from the superintendent and his staff. And that flow of information can be tightly controlled.In the middle of a crisis, … What do you think on this?Link to original article […]

    Pingback by Rick reedy Blog Digest - Now there's an idea — October 28, 2006 @ 7:48 am


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