Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Art teacher fired for taking students on approved museum tour

Only in Texas - a public school art teacher took her fifth grade class on an art museum tour that was approved by the school and principal. During the tour, they passed some nude classical statues. Then one of the children's parents complained, and the next day, 51 year old Ms. McGee (who had won a local teaching award, and had taught for 28 years) was in the principal's office and out of a job.

"Ms. McGee, a fifth-generation Texan who has a grown daughter, won a monthly teacher award in 2004 from a local newspaper. She said the loss of her $57,600-a-year job could jeopardize her mortgage and compound her health problems, including a heart ailment."

This is crazy, and no way to retain quality teachers. If I recall correctly, back in the day when I would go on school field trips, parents had to sign permission slips to allow their kids to participate. So if it is the same case in this school, the parent who complained got a dedicated, outstanding teacher fired for taking their kid on a field trip that they themselves had approved of?!?!?! More to the point, if you know that your kid is going on a field trip to an art museum (regardless of whether or not your school has signed waivers), you have to expect that there will be some classical nudes. So if you objected to the idea, you shouldn't have let your kid go in the first place.

On another note, I'm surprised by how poorly she's getting paid for almost three decades of service. In my old school district, teachers with that many years made in the high five figures, and sometimes into the low six figures depending on the number of degrees they had, what afterschool activities they supervised, and whether they were chairs of the department. And I received an excellent education, no doubt because my district was willing to pay top dollar to attract premium talent.

I feel for Ms. McGee and the other kids who lost a great teacher - they're hard to find at such low salaries.


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