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October 5, 2006 6:05 PM   Subscribe

Popular art teacher, Sydney McGee, a teacher for 28 years at the Wilma Fisher Elementary School in Frisco, Texas, was suspended from her job on September 22. Her infraction? Exposing her students to "nude art" during a visit to the Dallas Museum of Art. "One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the child’s parent complained, the teacher was suspended."

[A situation similar to that of teacher Pete Panse previously discussed here?]
posted by ericb (127 comments total)

 
Brings to mind former US Attorney General John Ashcroft's directive to cloak the "Spirit of Justice" statue.


posted by ericb at 6:08 PM on October 5, 2006


Does this mean I can post my buttsecks photo?

Let's bombard the school with kinky leaflets. You know, Venus De Milo kinky.
posted by furtive at 6:14 PM on October 5, 2006


people hate art in texas. who knew?

j/lk :P
posted by nola at 6:16 PM on October 5, 2006


Things aren't always what they seem to be.
I can't vouch for the veracity of the following, but it comes from another bog's discussion of this about a week ago. This is one entry:


"I recently emailed the school board over this with the following missive:

................................................................................................................
I can't tell you how pleased I am that my children do not go to school in your area.
To think that you would fire someone for allowing kids to see art which contains nudity in an art museum .... amazing.
Please keep up the good work of affording my own children every advantage you can by dumbing down the ones in your own charge.
.................................................................................................................

they replied with:

..................................................................................................................
There is more to the situation. A school district is at an extreme disadvantage in the area of personnel matters due to issues of employee privacy and ethical considerations.

However, since an employee of the district has chosen to express her concerns publicly in a hearing and in the media since that time, it seems fair that a school district can at least point to facts that were stated in that public hearing. Much has been misrepresented.

This is not about a field trip to an art museum. The timing of circumstances has allowed the teacher to wave that banner and it has played well in the media. FISD is a strong supporter of the arts and the Dallas Museum of Arts – our art program is rich and award-winning.

At issue here are performance concerns and the ability of a supervisor to address these concerns. As early as May 2005 the principal verbally brought to the attention of the teacher that there were some areas for improvement. She suggested at that time that a field trip experience might be a way to strengthen the art program and the Dallas Museum of Art was discussed as a viable option – it was not mandated as has been reported.

During the spring of the next school year, 2005-2006, when the teacher began planning the field trip, the principal suggested that the field trip be delayed until the next school year because she was concerned that the planning process was not sufficient.

When the teacher received her evaluation conference, which was in mid May and after the field trip, some issues of concern, unrelated to the field trip, were discussed and the teacher stated that she didn't think it was fair to evaluate her on expectations that had not been clearly communicated to her in writing. The principal did then document the performance areas that needed to be addressed – at the teacher’s request – but the documentation was not brought on by the field trip; the field trip was not a catalyst for anything or the final straw to get her in "hot water." She was never told there would not be a next year for her or that she was not “Frisco material” as has been reported. No teachers’ job status would be jeopardized based on students’ incidental viewing of nude art.

After the memo was provided as requested, the teacher did file a grievance and also asked to be transferred if there was an opening in the district. The transfer was denied because the central administration felt that if you allow a teacher to transfer after a supervisor has given them guidelines for improvement then you have weakened a supervisor's ability to address performance issues by essentially giving the teacher an "escape hatch" to avoid meeting the expectations of the supervisor.
What is getting lost here is that this is not about a field trip, censorship, or a parent complaint. It is not about age, tenure or salary level as has also been suggested in the media. This is about a school administrator working to help an employee improve her job performance and to improve the educational experience of students. Even someone who has taught for a long time can still have opportunity for professional development. Teachers were never directed to “ostracize” her as has been reported and she was never directed to not discuss her “plight.”

As an aside, the Star Award that is being mentioned in the context of the teacher being an award-winning teacher or Star Award Teacher of the Year 2004 is a recognition that took place periodically in the local paper because a local business wanted to sponsor the monthly ad to show support for teachers in the community – someone from each campus was usually represented. There was no set way employees were chosen at each campus for this ad. Some campuses went by tenure for inclusion, others selected based on something that had occurred that month. Teachers were recognized, as were volunteers, custodians, receptionists, others. FISD does not conduct the Teacher of the Year program.

At this time, the teacher has been placed on administrative leave with pay. The Administration and the Board felt that this was the best action for all concerned. A recommendation for the non-renewal of her contract will be forthcoming from the superintendent.

................................................................................................................

there seems to be a distinct odor of ass coverage in the air.
Seems to me that the administrator (principal) was politicing a teacher out and wasn't prepared for a nonlinear counterpunch."
posted by johngumbo at 6:21 PM on October 5, 2006 [6 favorites]


you know, i went on a tour of italy last year. when in florence we went to see the statue of david. a tour group member complained to the tour guide that her 13 year old granddaughter was being exposed to sexual nudity. go figure. WTF.
posted by brandz at 6:21 PM on October 5, 2006


I must say, looking at the Museum's collections highlights, it's quite a sedate selection as it is.

I assume the Museum knows and understands that it is located in Texas.
posted by dhartung at 6:23 PM on October 5, 2006


Ugh. An apparently well-qualified teacher with 28 years of experience sacked because one idiot child freaked out at seeing stylized nudity, the idiot parents didn't know better, and the school district went along with it.

School officials have not named the child who complained or any particular artwork at issue, although Ms. McGee said her puzzlement was compounded when Ms. Lawson referred at times to "an abstract nude sculpture."

I am just racking my brain trying to think what piece of art the Dallas Art Museum may have that would lead a student to complain about it.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 6:28 PM on October 5, 2006


No really, Texas isn't full of lying redneck christ-tards, so just stop saying that.
posted by 2sheets at 6:30 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the gulag some call America.
posted by fire&wings at 6:38 PM on October 5, 2006


This was also covered on, of all places, the computer networking industry website and community blog LightReading earlier today.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:45 PM on October 5, 2006


A society that flips at the sight of a tit is quite a tit itself.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 6:46 PM on October 5, 2006


.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:46 PM on October 5, 2006


Welcome to the gulag some call America.

You do realize that the reason this is getting so much attention is because it is such a bizarre and isolated incident?

Don't overreact or anything. And out of morbid curiosity, what do you call America (assuming you did not include yourself in that "some")?
posted by Pontius Pilate at 6:47 PM on October 5, 2006


From a comment on the first link:

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."
"Let's shine a light on Ms. McGee's allegations and discuss whether she was disciplined for a parent complaint regarding what students viewed at an art museum," Reedy said. "This district has been making trips to the Dallas Museum of Art for years and will continue to do so. No teacher has ever been disciplined for the art seen by students, so why would the district start now?"

Also, see the post by johngumbo. But I guess that'd mean ya'll would have to take a deep breath and back away from the insta-post button.
posted by artifarce at 6:48 PM on October 5, 2006 [2 favorites]


I saw the same email as johngumbo over on Metachat a few days ago. If you read the original AP story, it never explicitly says the teacher was fired for the museum trip, just that she was fired at some point after the trip.

But of course, business as usual wouldn't allow Mefizens to play their "holier than thou" cards, so snark away.
posted by muddgirl at 6:49 PM on October 5, 2006


Her Media bliltz doth protest too much. She seems to have had this coming and is using the Musuem -Art angle to drum up support against her percieved art hating supervisors. The modern Musuem in Fort Worth is a great place to see some intresting art
posted by svenvog at 6:56 PM on October 5, 2006


that memo has all the hallmarks of a mealy-mouthed mendacious cover-our-asses and shovel out the bullshit letter written after the glare of publicity exposed them

christ, if they really wanted to punish her, they'd give her tenure, so she'd have to stay in texas
posted by pyramid termite at 7:00 PM on October 5, 2006


oh, and this is great ...

FISD does not conduct the Teacher of the Year program.

translation - "who cares what the community thinks? WE'RE the educators"
posted by pyramid termite at 7:03 PM on October 5, 2006


fire&wings writes "Welcome to the gulag some call America."

Do you even know what the fuck that word means?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:03 PM on October 5, 2006


I've got to agree with those that feel that there is more to the story.

In this day and age a school district, even in Texas, is more careful about personnel policies than this.

If this was about the trip to the museum, I would support the teacher 100%, but I'll bet it isn't..
posted by HuronBob at 7:15 PM on October 5, 2006


Yeah, my bad to take the post at face value. Sometimes I dig deeper, sometimes I just let it go. Truly, I am a fool to believe such a preposterous, far-fetched tale such as the one portrayed in the FPP could ever take place in such an enlightened place, at such an enlightened time.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:16 PM on October 5, 2006


christ, if they really wanted to punish her, they'd give her tenure, so she'd have to stay in texas.

Oh yes, I forgot that Texas is the gateway to hell, populated by the EEEvil GW Bush and his demonic minions. Of course, being hell, we hate everything cultured and pure, like abstract nudes and children.

Jehovah with a Jump Rope, is it really too hard to imagine that the teacher has performance issues? Does this not happen anywhere else? Parents have complained about nudity in school before and the teacher rarely gets FIRED over it (well, unless she's an art teacher and she's the nude one...) Lambast the parent who complained all you want, but the anti-Texas shtick is getting really old.
posted by muddgirl at 7:17 PM on October 5, 2006


1. the system of forced-labor camps in the Soviet Union.
2. a Soviet forced-labor camp.
3. any prison or detention camp, esp. for political prisoners.

Well lets see the political prisoners are those stifled by the politics of the current ruling class. And the camp is the whole country because the politics are pervading everything.

One could also call it hyperbole, or a number of other literary terms i didnt bother paying attention to in english class.
posted by MrLint at 7:21 PM on October 5, 2006


Do you even know what the fuck that word means?

What's wrong with a bit of hyperbole? Your country is going down the shitter regardless of what facetious term is used to describe its current state.
posted by fire&wings at 7:22 PM on October 5, 2006


ok Now for my bit.... the fear of the human body amongst the 'conservatives' is really quite frightening. When you demonize something it become taboo and ppl obsess over it. You dont see people obsession over microwaves do you?
posted by MrLint at 7:23 PM on October 5, 2006


mudgirl: well, unless she's an art teacher and she's the nude one...

Like this?
posted by tippiedog at 7:26 PM on October 5, 2006


Jesus fucking Christ. America: you suck.
posted by Artw at 7:29 PM on October 5, 2006


While you won't hear me defending Texans and their backwards ways, but in this case I think the teacher is probably full of it.
posted by iconjack at 7:34 PM on October 5, 2006


Hey, one school in Texas ain't representative of America, Artw. My daughter's 5th-grade class (ten-year-olds) went to see Body Worlds last year.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:37 PM on October 5, 2006


MrMoonPie - give it time.
posted by Artw at 7:38 PM on October 5, 2006


If jumping to conclusions based on insufficient information were an Olympic sport, Metafiltrites would be gold medal winners!
posted by HuronBob at 7:40 PM on October 5, 2006 [2 favorites]


I smell shenanigans.

Teacher shenanigans.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:42 PM on October 5, 2006


Man, if I were an orthopedist, I bet I could clean up offering to repair all the painful jerked knees on display here.

What do you mean there might be more to the story? It fits what we think about the home of the chimp-in-chief, so it must be true. Anything suggesting otherwise is obviously partisan or self-serving or just a bunch of lies made up to ruin my gloating!
posted by John Smallberries at 7:42 PM on October 5, 2006


What other country goeds absolutely apeshit at the sight of a tit on telly?
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on October 5, 2006


"No teachers’ job status..."

Is our children learning?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:44 PM on October 5, 2006


MrLint writes "Well lets see the political prisoners are those stifled by the politics of the current ruling class. And the camp is the whole country because the politics are pervading everything."

You know, I think the most harrowing part of Solzhenitsyn's experience was when he wasn't allowed to take his class to the art museum. Just heartbreaking.

And if y'all want to make this some sort of police state pissing contest, let's talk about the panopticon you've got going on over there in the UK. You feeling secure beneath those watchful eyes?

Whatever. This story is bullshit. The school district is emphatically stating that they have no problem with trips to the art museum and that such trips will continue. Sorry if the facts are getting in the way of your prejudices.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:46 PM on October 5, 2006


Thanks, ArtW, for your blanket indictment of this country. Sorry we've forced you to live here.. sheesh...
posted by HuronBob at 7:48 PM on October 5, 2006


but the anti-Texas shtick is getting really old.

Except that texas sucks. Their slogan is "Don't mess with Texas." What the hell is that supposed to mean? Who is messing with Texas? It's up their with "Bring them on" as a slogan that represents the little boy insecurties, and bully mentality that have made this country what is it today. Texas might not be down to the levels of Florida suckage, but for the most part, the state sucks.
posted by afu at 7:48 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Don't Mess with Texas" is an anti-litter campaign slogan. Jackass.
posted by John Smallberries at 7:52 PM on October 5, 2006 [3 favorites]


afu writes "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Uhhh.... It's an anti-litter campaign. First google hit on the phrase, if you had been sincerely curious.

The actual state motto is "Friendship".
posted by mr_roboto at 7:53 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think you should have to run for office nude, and remain nude for the duration of your term.
posted by cytherea at 7:53 PM on October 5, 2006


America: you suck.

Did you even read the district's response? Bravo to the teacher for making a media event of the disciplinary action against her, but the art museum doesn't seem to be at the top of the list of reasons she was fired. Given that we haven't seen a further public statement from the teacher (someone please point me to one if it exists), this story has been pretty effectively debunked. Or at least defanged.
posted by mediareport at 7:54 PM on October 5, 2006


Well, the school claims that she wasn't fired for showing kids art, but for other reasons. They go into detail about some boring administrative stuff. It really irresponsible to cast judgment like this.

That said, the Texas school system really sucks ass, and their response is to try to punish the kids for not learnin' hard enough with year-round schooling and criminal penalties for truancy (for the kids and the parents). It really is a police state for people under 18.

And of course GWB campaigned on a promise to "Do for American schools what he did for Texas schools."
posted by delmoi at 7:54 PM on October 5, 2006


this story has been pretty effectively debunked

I should add that's the feeling of most of the folks on mailing lists where I saw it discussed weeks ago, too.
posted by mediareport at 7:56 PM on October 5, 2006


"Bring 'em on", actually.

if the facts are getting in the way of your prejudices

prejudices like the belief that asshat fundies / christian reconstructionist movement is focusing on taking over schoolboards across the nation? That's why the teacher's story is believable. cf. Ashcroft's inane behavior with the naked statue referenced above.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:57 PM on October 5, 2006


"Don't Mess with Texas" is an anti-litter campaign slogan. Jackass.

Yeah, but it's their unofficial slogan, along with "God Bless Texas" as GWB used to say all the time. Can you imagine your governor saying "God Bless [my state]"? It's almost laughable.
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on October 5, 2006


I can't find a link to it, but KRLD (news radio in DFW) had a report today that Ms. McGee's personnel file showed that she had been paid over $8000 to leave her previous position at a school in McKinney. It seems there was a dispute over her performance and the school decided it was easier to pay off her contract rather than go through the hassle of dismissing her outright. Those of you who have already convicted the Frisco administrators won't care about that fact, but some of the more thoughtful readers might take it into consideration.

FISD does not conduct the Teacher of the Year program.

translation - "who cares what the community thinks? WE'RE the educators"


It's not the community, it's a single business that used the award in an advertisement. Several of my neighbors are teachers and administrators and they say the award was a joke.

fire&wings: Your country...
You keep denigrating the United States. Care to reveal your country of origin so we can get some calibration points on your credibility?

Yeah, but it's their unofficial slogan, along with "God Bless Texas"
Every time I preview, I find someone else has blessed us with another gem of ignorance -- I can't keep up.
posted by forrest at 8:08 PM on October 5, 2006


Can you imagine your governor saying "God Bless [my state]"? It's almost laughable.

New York
Vermont (last line)
Oregon (last line)
Washington
...and so on and so on and so on
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 8:10 PM on October 5, 2006


ericb posted my fave boobie shot, but I'm really thankful for johngumbo posting that correspondence. That sums it up for me. Yea, it was a good "news" item, but the truth is out.

I just read The Bonfire of the Vanities, and the rule of "sensational reporting" definately applies here.

As much as I dislike the fear inspired spread of hyper-Christian morals, it's comforting to know that that is probably not the case here.
posted by snsranch at 8:10 PM on October 5, 2006


Check my profile, delmoi. Yes, I can imagine it.

And it isn't an exclusively Texan thing at all.
posted by John Smallberries at 8:13 PM on October 5, 2006


Eh, Texas is alright. I've met some really cool/nice folks from there. They do have art and culture there, y'know. Lots of good music. Great BBQ, good beer, but that Tex-Mex Frito pie stuff is an abomination, and y'all know squat about about real salsa - and of all the states you should know better. Can't say much nice about Dallas or Houston, but Austin is kind of nifty - if crowded and filled with pretentious art/music dorks from points elsewhere.

But it's still fucking Texas. Dirty, flat, weird roads, weird people, weird weather, weird bugs, etc.

Yeah, I'll mess with Texas. The only things Texas has that are truly bigger are hairdos and cellphone towers. Oh, and grocery stores. Man, did you see that HEB? It was bigger than a Wal-Mart Super Center!
posted by loquacious at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2006


Yeah, but it's their unofficial slogan, along with "God Bless Texas" as GWB used to say all the time. Can you imagine your governor saying "God Bless [my state]"? It's almost laughable.

God Bless Iowa.

Many governors say "God bless _____" to pander to their religious voters.

Look, Bush is a dickhead. Don't Mess With Texas® is an anti-litter campaign slogan.

Just because this story happened in Texas doesn't make it Texas-specific. I wouldn't be surprised some Frisco parent complained about their kid seeing boobies on a field trip. I would be surprised if that was the grounds for the teacher's firing.
posted by birdherder at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2006


I live in Dallas Fort Worth and this story has been extensively covered by the local media. Here's a few points that have been reported locally, that I haven't seen in the national media:

The teacher had her contract renewed in March of 2006. The field trip to the DMA was in April of 2006. If she had performance problems other than the field trip, why was her contract renewed?

The field trip required permission slips from the parents, and fully explained where the children were going. If the parents didn't want their children exposed to nude art, they simply could have denied permission.

After the teacher found out she was being put on administrative leave without pay and denied a transfer to another school in the district, she then went to the media. Frisco ISD then held a closed meeting, and decided to suspend the teacher with pay and let her contract terminate in March of 2007. If they truly had cause she would have been fired immediately.

Almost all of the local reaction has been overwhelmingly in support of Ms. McGee. Based on everything I've read and watched abou this story, it's a CYA by the Frisco ISD after they over-reacted to a hysterical parent.
posted by lootie777 at 8:17 PM on October 5, 2006


Loqaucious : ..."y'all know squat about about real salsa"...

I've got a nice homemade batch of chipotle and fire roasted tomato salsa sitting in my fridge that says "Son, you are just plain wrong."

Also, a mosquito damned near carried off my cat the other day, so add that to your list of big things here.
posted by John Smallberries at 8:24 PM on October 5, 2006


Here's a link to the story forrest was talking about. It goes to the local CBS affiliate.

http://cbs11tv.com/topstories/local_story_278190717.html
posted by lootie777 at 8:29 PM on October 5, 2006


I've got a nice homemade batch of chipotle and fire roasted tomato salsa sitting in my fridge that says "Son, you are just plain wrong."

While I'm sure that tastes sublime as a mere condiment for any number of Americanized foodstuffs, the fact that you mention tomatos instead of tomatillos as well as completely failing to indicate any sort of proper containment device or class C fire in your fridge merely proves my point.

Y'all seem to manage with chili pretty good, why can't you manage a salsa verde or salsa rojo with at least a little kick to it?

Sorry about your cat and the mosquito. I hear they're running out of room for everyone in California. It shouldn't be any trouble, they only eat a few cows a day, tops.
posted by loquacious at 8:31 PM on October 5, 2006


I remember, when I was a kid in school, being told to draw shorts on the David. His rearing manhood was deemed too "distracting"
posted by juliarothbort at 8:32 PM on October 5, 2006


Also, to bring it back on topic a little: I was pleasantly astonished at all the "No W!" stickers I saw in Texas. I supposed that's because they had prior experience with the gimpy monkey in question.
posted by loquacious at 8:33 PM on October 5, 2006


This certainly smacks of office politics that blew up in the face of the administrators. From reading their letter, it sounds like they had less than legitimate reasons for wishing to dismiss her, and rigged together a 'performance plan' to achieve their goal. The complaint from a parent gave them an opportunity to crack down on her sooner than expected, so they seized it.

Full disclosure: I personally have a soft spot for art teachers.
posted by mullingitover at 8:33 PM on October 5, 2006


I remember, when I was a kid in school, being told to draw shorts on the David.

OMG!!!


posted by ericb at 8:35 PM on October 5, 2006


Fuck Texas anyway.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:36 PM on October 5, 2006


Don't forget, Texas was home to one of the coolest women who ever walked the earth, Ann Richards, may she rest in peace.

I mean, if we're going to turn this into an anti-"Things I don't know much about" debate.
posted by muddgirl at 8:42 PM on October 5, 2006


Your favorite state still sucks.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:48 PM on October 5, 2006


The complaint from a parent gave them an opportunity to crack down on her sooner than expected, so they seized it.

yeah, i think you've got it ... their account just didn't wash

and whatever anyone says about texas ... it isn't ohio
posted by pyramid termite at 8:53 PM on October 5, 2006


My American Lit class, taught more or less chronologically, is dealing with the Puritans (and McCarthyism....via The Crucible.) and its manifestations in today's culture.

We are a pretty spanking new country; let's not forget our origins.

Spank. Spank. Spank.
posted by kozad at 9:05 PM on October 5, 2006


I grew up spending a couple hot years in Texas, just outside Fort Worth. I remember our trip to Dinosaur Park for the weekend, and just as we packed up the car and were about to head back home, this born-again strolls up to us, asks us if we have "found Jesus". Upon hearing we hadn't, he shakes his head, tells us he feels sorry for us and walks away. God bless Texas, indeed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:19 PM on October 5, 2006


FUCK TEXAS.

(As if this Bush Hating OU Sooner fan needed another reason to hate on em)
posted by HyperBlue at 9:23 PM on October 5, 2006


you know, i went on a tour of italy last year. when in florence we went to see the statue of david. a tour group member complained to the tour guide that her 13 year old granddaughter was being exposed to sexual nudity.

Ten bucks says she was USian.
posted by spazzm at 9:23 PM on October 5, 2006


Upon hearing we hadn't, he shakes his head, tells us he feels sorry for us and walks away. God bless Texas, indeed.

When confronted with that particular question, my answer is "I didn't realize Jesus was lost."
posted by lootie777 at 9:25 PM on October 5, 2006


You know, some of us in Texas aren't fundy bushlovers. Some of us like the place. Some of us think you ignorant people can go fuck yourselves.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:47 PM on October 5, 2006 [7 favorites]


I find great humor in people pronouncing the how much America sucks and it's demise when they clearly are only going on the sensationalized media report without reading more into the subject. GG.
posted by jmd82 at 9:53 PM on October 5, 2006


While I'm sure that tastes sublime as a mere condiment for any number of Americanized foodstuffs, the fact that you mention tomatos instead of tomatillos as well as completely failing to indicate any sort of proper containment device or class C fire in your fridge merely proves my point. Y'all seem to manage with chili pretty good, why can't you manage a salsa verde or salsa rojo

Lord deliver me from hot sauce jackoffs.

Like, rojo means red, no kidding, right?
posted by furiousthought at 9:58 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeah, fuck the following:

Tex Avery
Molly Ivins
Mike Judge
Jack Johnson
Ernest Tubb
Katherine Anne Porter
Steve Earle
James McMurtry
Roy Orbison
Patricia Highsmith
Richard Linklater
Scott Joplin
Terrence Malick

And a hell of a lot of other people who've made America and the world a better place.

And fuck the Texas bashers most of all.
Bunch of ignorant bigots.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:23 PM on October 5, 2006


Sing it, Bob.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:34 PM on October 5, 2006


Lord deliver me from hot sauce jackoffs.

See, that's part of the problem. If you can jack off with it isn't hot sauce.

Like, rojo means red, no kidding, right?

Uh, yeah. That's what it means. I was making the distinction for the sake of speaking of different salsas, not to make you think I wanted you to feel like an idiot.


Don't get me wrong. I'm not out there looking for multi-million Scoville unit novelty sauces that require waiver forms to purchase. I was just honestly surpised at how utterly sweet, bland and mild "hot" sauce was in Texas.

Granted I can eat Chinese hot mustard, habeneros and wasabi all on the same plate all the live long day, but still. It should at least tickle my tongue.

I guess what I'm trying to get at here is this: A fine array of good hot sauces and salsas is essential to the good life. Without a steady supply of a suitable sauce, you end up with an anemic, skittish population accustomed to only blandness and safety. Children scared off by wholesome boobies, a distinct lack of zydeco or mariachi, the inability to coexist with art weirdos, etc.
posted by loquacious at 10:42 PM on October 5, 2006


Christ, this thread really goes to show how easily some single-minded people can defeat their own point and alienate potential allies.
posted by Stauf at 10:43 PM on October 5, 2006


Yeah, fuck the following:... Roy Orbison

Hey, I'd fuck Roy Orbison, if he was still alive. He had that boyish geekiness I love.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:43 PM on October 5, 2006


So, to paraphrase the thread: it is believable so it must be true, especially since America sucks so damn much.

Metafilter: who cares what the real story is.
posted by dreamsign at 11:03 PM on October 5, 2006


it is believable so it must be true

huh? I've seen no real reason to doubt her story about the dumbass-parent objecting to this, given that 60% of this country polls as complete dumbasses in general... The official 2004 nationwide survey of idiocy showed that 61.9% of Texans listed themselves idiots, as well, though to their credit the polling is more variable here.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:24 PM on October 5, 2006


I grew up in Texas until I was about fifteen, before moving on to Oklahoma and then New York. So listen.

Texas has some of the best food in the country. Not just the Tex-Mex, which no other place can even closely approximate (and if you disagree, well, shut up. You're wrong) but also the seafood, which is as good as anything in New England, but more creative with the spices. There's tons of culture in Dallas, not to mention the amazing and criminally unheralded music scene out of Deep Ellum. Galveston is like a mini-New Orleans, with all the entertainment that entails, and Austin, as most people know by now, is a kick-ass conclave of all your favorite people in the world that you haven't met yet. Re-read the list of people mentioned above (though I like to consider Terrence Mallick to be from Bartlesville, OK) before going off on Fuck Texas rants.

That said, Texas still sucks in a lot of ways. Dallas has it's good points, and I always enjoy my time there, but it still suffers from a willful conservative ignorance. Houston is worse, and without any positive attributes to speak of at all (save for the food, which as I've mentioned, is some of the best you'll find anywhere.)

It's almost certainly the ugliest major city in the U.S. (I've never been to Tampa, so I can't say for sure) and I'm not just talking about the aesthetics. It's also simply mean, sometimes with a manufactured smile, and sometimes with a silver-haired, steely frown of self-righteousness. The traffic is a joke, and the city limits are a ludicrous exercise in annexing rich neighborhoods while leaving poor neighborhoods out of the tax system (and it's benefits.) It's entirely dependent on automobiles, which is the logical extension of an area where land is dirt cheap and the only semblance of culture is "big." A significant subset of the populace truly believes that W is the second coming of Christ.

Houston is the worst that Texas (and maybe America) has to offer, and is likely what most of you are thinking of when you bash the whole state, which is way to big and diverse to be painted with one brush. It's a little like saying that everyone in Brooklyn is Italian, or that everyone in L.A. is blonde, but with a nice bit a derision added to boot. Go to Dallas. Go to Austin. Meet some of the people, if you're willing to give up prejudices. There's a lot there.

The school system, on the other hand, is another story. From my experience, if you live in a rich district, then they'll throw all sorts of money at experimental methods and structures (I went through single-grade schools, semi-open concept classrooms, block-scheduling and year-round schooling all within three years, each time as part of a test group) and if you're poor, well, what are you doing being poor? The one common thread for all of this was that teachers were demonized and forced to teach with one hand behind their back. When my mother taught in the Dallas School district, she was very nearly suspended for allowing a student-suggested discussion of evolution in her homeroom class. By the time I was there, things hadn't improved. The image I have in mind of every teacher I can still recall is one of them biting their tongues.

As for Art teachers, forget it. Our parents were amazed that our eighth grade art teacher was approved to teach us about Georgia O'Keefe for a week. (Pleasantly amazed, but still.)

My opinion is inexpert, to be sure, but having read over the materials, this seems to me like a classic CYA by the school administration, which is scared shitless of the parents, particularly if they come from an ideology known to mobilize and attack teachers at a moment's notice.

And remember, that art depicted parts of the human anatomy which, practical as they may be, are evil!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:25 PM on October 5, 2006


I've seen no real reason to doubt her story about the dumbass-parent objecting to this, given that 60% of this country polls as complete dumbasses in general...

Huh?

To paraphrase one judge I know: it doesn't matter what generally is the case. What is at issue is what specifically happened in this case.

If you want "generally", how about "teachers who have been on the job for 28 years tend to be a bit inflexible regarding their teaching methods" and "people will look for any political scapegoat to explain why they got fired". I am not saying either is the case, but there's enough just in this thread to cast doubt.

I'm not complaining about statements like: "if it's true, that sucks." I was complaining about how, since we're on the hate for America in general, the educational system in particular (this moment), let's pile on regardless of whether the story has any backing, is contradicted by another account, or sounds one-sided. A lot of what I'm hearing carries about as much weight as the opposite: "Well, art teachers are flaky so you can't believe anything they say".

A poll? WTF? So articles are just excuses to rant about your unhappiness with things in general?
posted by dreamsign at 11:33 PM on October 5, 2006


I should also admit that, warts and all, the Texas educational system is still a hell of a lot better than what they've got in NYC.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:39 PM on October 5, 2006


So articles are just excuses to rant about your unhappiness with things in general?

You must be new to the internets.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:59 PM on October 5, 2006


Austin, as most people know by now, is a kick-ass conclave of all your favorite people in the world that you haven't met yet.

I moved to Houston almost two years ago after living in Austin for eight years. Only after leaving did I realize that everyone in Austin was too caught up in the "rat race" - it reminded me of the South Park episode where everyone was enthralled by the smell of their own farts.

People are nicer here in Houston - it gets a bad rap from folks who live too far away from work and have to sit in traffic (I live 2.4 miles from the office and it takes me five minutes to get there), or who claim that its dirty and full of pollution (I've seen nothing of the sort).

I get strange looks when I say that I like Houston better than Austin - its as if Austin is some mythical happy place at the end of the yellow brick road that is all sunshine and roses.
posted by mrbill at 12:33 AM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Texas has some of the best food in the country. ...[redacted]... but also the seafood, which is as good as anything in New England...

First, let me agree with the good points. Texas does have really good food, from diverse international favorites like Ethiopian spicy-hot lentil patty sandwiches to world class Pad Thai, to the killer native BBQs and chilis and whatnot.

Which is why the salsa thing is so mystifying to me. I had salsa in dozens of places in various parts of Texas, and I have to say I've had better salsa in Oregon or Utah.

As for the sea food... eh. Sorry, that's unpossible. I speak from experience of being a seafood lover living on the coasts and also living way too far inland. It's just something you have to live with when you're not on the coast. Stale, frozen fish is extremely icky to someone who grew up catching their own fresh fish from the sea, or someone who has access to a real, working fresh fish market. The difference is tangible.

Now freshly flown in, unfrozen fish isn't terrible. It's not a life or death problem. But to say it compares to the seafood you can get on the coasts is stretching it a whole heck of a lot. It might compare to the seafood available in a tourist trap in a coastal town or something, but, damn. If you like seafood, you haven't lived until you've plowed through a slab of tuna the size of your head that's so fresh it actually moves when you slap it on the grill for a quick, light broiling, so fresh the bizarre concepts of fish-smell-masking condiments like lemon juice or tartar sauce seem like mortal sins.

I can't empirically prove this subjective opinion to you, but my mouth and nose sure can tell, and I'll be damned if I let someone tell me FedEx'ed fish is as good as the stuff that still has seawater dripping from it.

Not everyone in Texas is a fundy. Hell, lots of people in Texas don't like Bush one bit. As I indicated before there is lots of well developed culture in Texas - native, imported or exported.

Me? I didn't like it. Austin was cool. But I didn't like Texas. There wasn't enough culture for my peculiar tastes. The weather is often either opressively hot and muggy or unreasonably cold for the latitude. I generally found the people to be mean, lean and hungry - not exactly ungenerous or dangerous, but there seemed to be a pervasive "To each their own" or even an "I'm going to get mine first and to hell with the rest" sort of attitude that was often ...uncharitable. And I saw/felt this attitude in a variety of ways, from the way people drove, to the pervasive roadway littering problem, to how natural resources and land was managed, to how people interacted with each other and more.

I did meet a lot of very nice and interesting folks while in Texas. But they seemed to have to insulate themselves in pockets from, well, the rest of Texas.

Now I'm in Oregon, and there's a lot of stuff about it that's a lot like Texas. Lots of farms and ranches and whatnot, fairly conservative population.

But the people here are so genuinely nice and interested in your welfare - and their collective welfare - it's just mind-bogglingly surreal. This isn't to say there aren't any nice people in Texas at all, but here in Oregon I'm still adjusting to the fact that even the fast food cashier seemed genuinely happy to serve me and say hello. It really is different here.

There's a lot less litter, too. Walking the streets of Portland or Vancouver even the supposedly "ghetto" areas are wonderfully litter-free. Whereas even in the poshest areas of downtown (or suburban) Austin there just always seemed to be appalling amounts of litter everywhere - in drifts near shopping centers, hanging from trees, decorating the shrubs.

Anyway, I just wanted to make it clear that my personal opinions of Texas aren't from a position of ignorance. I lived there, I tried it, I left. It wasn't for me. "Hill Country" was too flat for me. I want/need real mountains towering and looming at least somewhere nearby. The "forests" seemed brushy and scrubby. Heck, even the birds seemed omnious and threatening after a while.

But there's probably something to be learned or explored at how quick people are to either attack or defend Texas. Love it or hate it, perhaps.
posted by loquacious at 12:34 AM on October 6, 2006


FISD does not conduct the Teacher of the Year program.

translation - "who cares what the community thinks? WE'RE the educators"
posted by pyramid termite at 10:03 PM EST on October 5 [+] [!]


better, literal, accurate translation - "TOTY is a cheezy bit of paid advertising underwritten by a local business and appearing in a local newspaper. the school district does not conduct TOTY, nor does the "community", and referring to this lousy underperforming teacher we are trying to get rid of as "award-winning" due to her having appeared in said advertisment is just one small chunk of the fecal feast being force fed the public and eagerly gobbled up by mouth-breathing knee-jerks like yourself".
posted by quonsar at 2:42 AM on October 6, 2006


It's not just Texas. On a trip to Greece, way back before the fundies had completely taken over, I watched this kid from Kentucky complain that he was going to have to return the T-shirt he had just purchased as a souvenir, since the depiction of the temple printed on it contained statues that were nekkid.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:17 AM on October 6, 2006


What other country goes absolutely apeshit at the sight of a tit on telly?

Uhh... Iran? Afghanistan?
posted by bashos_frog at 4:18 AM on October 6, 2006


And if y'all want to make this some sort of police state pissing contest, let's talk about the panopticon you've got going on over there in the UK.

I know that this must seem strange to Americans, but here in the UK we don't much care about people pointing out our faults and foibles. We had that whole 'We're Number One!' attitude knocked out of us about the time we gave up the empire.

Hey, I'd fuck Roy Orbison

I'd rather fuck me some Buddy Holly.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:27 AM on October 6, 2006


Texas does have a coast you know.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:54 AM on October 6, 2006


So, to paraphrase the thread: it is believable so it must be true, especially since America sucks so damn much.
Metafilter: who cares what the real story is.


I have nothing to add to that, except that this thread is a reminder that MeFites are just as bigoted as the rest of humanity. Y'all sneer at people who attack Arabs, but then you turn around and attack Texans (and I'll bet few of you "Texas sucks" people have ever personally known a Texan).

The only worthwhile thing about this thread is the discussion of hot sauce, so my thanks to those who are carrying it on.
posted by languagehat at 6:14 AM on October 6, 2006


Hey, I'd fuck Roy Orbison

me, too. but first i would wrap him in cling-film:

Roy stands. 'Commence.'

I start at the ankles and work up. I am like a spider binding him in my gossamer web. I do it tight with several layers. Soon Roy Orbison stands before me, completely wrapped in cling-film. The pleasure is unexampled.

'You are completely wrapped in cling-film,' I say.

'You win the bet,' says Roy, muffled. 'Now unwrap me.'

'Not for several hours.'

'Ah.'
posted by snofoam at 6:15 AM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


loquacious writes "As for the sea food... eh. Sorry, that's unpossible....Now freshly flown in, unfrozen fish isn't terrible...I'll be damned if I let someone tell me FedEx'ed fish is as good as the stuff that still has seawater dripping from it."

Houston's only an hour drive from the coast. You think we FedEx it from Galveston to Houston?
posted by Bugbread at 6:18 AM on October 6, 2006


Also, regarding the salsa, I think it varies a lot depending on where in Texas you're talking about. The salsa racks in the local supermarkets in Houston have a pretty damn good variety of salsas, green, red, paisley, and polka-dot, from super mild to super spicy. I haven't lived elsewhere in Texas, so I don't know for sure, but I can imagine that some areas with more Hispanics have good selections, and some areas with few Hispanics might have crappy selections.
posted by Bugbread at 6:23 AM on October 6, 2006


If Texas is as good as some say, why did they throw out Ann Richards for Dubya?

If Texas is as bad as some say, why did they ever elect Ann Richards?

Texas is a fun place to bash. Lots more fun than, say, Kansas. Kansas isn't full of itself. Texas is.
posted by Goofyy at 6:24 AM on October 6, 2006


"And next on Channel 8, an important story for local parents... Tens of thousands of Texas schoolchildren visit the Dallas Museum of Art every year... Is the entire state actually at fault for their resulting boredom? Stay tuned for our in-depth coverage of this hidden tragedy..."

If you want to complain about Texas, pick a better example (death penalty anyone?).
posted by unknowncommand at 6:29 AM on October 6, 2006


Texas does have a coast you know.

KirkJobSluder beat me to it. Did you forget about The Gulf of Mexico, loquacious?

As for the hotsauce, if I can borrow bugbread's words... I can imagine that some areas with more Hispanics have good selections

Yes. Texicans know a thing or two about a good Salsa Verde or Salsa Rojo.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:33 AM on October 6, 2006


I had forgotten abut the wrapping-Roy-Orbison-in-cling-film fetish website. And they say the drugs don't work!

Oh yeah, fuck Texas. If it asks you nicely and you are that way inclined.

How do I cash in on knee-jerk reactions to hot-button issues? This teacher should move on to lecturing in spin or some shit. Or write a book about it.
posted by asok at 7:07 AM on October 6, 2006


this born-again strolls up to us, asks us if we have "found Jesus". Upon hearing we hadn't, he shakes his head, tells us he feels sorry for us and walks away.

OMG WHAT AN ASSHOLE FOR FORCING HIS BELIEFS DOWN YR THROATS! Oh wait...

I don't really understand where this "Texans are full of themselves" idea comes from. I've lived in California and I know bunches of people from the Seattle area, and talk about inordinate amounts of state pride! To hear them tell, Washington is the untainted Promised Land, where vestal virgins dance through the streets spreading wildflowers and iPods.

My point being that everyone is full of their homeland. If they weren't, they'd move.
posted by muddgirl at 7:20 AM on October 6, 2006


What other country goes absolutely apeshit at the sight of a tit on telly?

Uhh... Iran? Afghanistan?


Afghanistan has television?

As for Iran, maybe you have a point, except you would never ever see a tit on television there. And, y'know, those are not exactly great countries to compare yourselves to.

Maybe you can change your national slogan to "America: At least occasionally you see a tit on television for everyone to go apeshit over"
posted by Artw at 7:32 AM on October 6, 2006


I've only lived in Houston, Los Angeles, Kitakushu, and Tokyo, so I'm no expert on what the best and worst cities in the universe are, but personally I liked Houston much more than I liked LA.
posted by Bugbread at 7:34 AM on October 6, 2006


i don't get it.

on metafilter, you can write an unflattering generalization -- even something downright nasty -- about the northeastern or northwestern parts of america, and there's no outcry. some of nor'easterners will even agree with you and add a dis of their own.

say something unflattering about texas or the south, and people get angry. say something nasty about texas or the south, and people go absolutely apeshit.

by the way, with regard to seafood, anything texas does, lousiana does about 10 times better.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:45 AM on October 6, 2006


This is nothing. Nothing I tell you! Around 1997 at BYU, the art museum had arranged for a Rodin exhibit.
Before the exhibit officially opened, the museum had a preview with various Important People of Provo invited. The mayor's wife took one look at Rodin's The Kiss and promptly got herself offended. She demanded that it be removed from the exhibit (along with 3 other statues) because schoolchildren would be visiting the museum. Classic "Think of the Children!" rhetoric. So, The Kiss was moved down to the basement and NO ONE was allowed to see it. See here.
And that's Provo, Utah for you.
posted by witchstone at 8:46 AM on October 6, 2006


And that's Provo, Utah for you.

amen. I love stories like that about provo, since it was the very first place i was ever nude myself.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:00 AM on October 6, 2006


Why all the Texas hate? I'm as liberal as it gets and you still couldn't pay me enough to move somewhere else.

It's really not a haven of conservativism--the last election the split was something like 35%-65%, which means 1 in 3 or so people went blue. With a population of 20,851,820, that's 6,950,600 Democrats you're writing off right there (I know that's not calculated for only the voting population, but you get the idea). Also, even the other 2/3's of the population aren't rabid neocons; from personal experience I would hazard that the vast majority are conservative-leaning moderates. The insane extreme-right-wingers are the ones that make the most noise, so they're the only ones you ever see, but they are, by and large, in the minority.

Also, to the person who said that nobody in Texas seemed to honestly care about you--come visit College Station. Friendliest bunch of conservatives* you'll ever meet.

As far as Dallas goes, go to Deep Ellum. Go to Lower Greenville. Go to the Dallas Museum of Art when it's hosting one of its Late Nights, a monthly event when the museum is open until midnight with music, special set-ups, activities, and all sorts of cool shit. Go ride the DART around and see what all the stops--like the awesomeness that is Mockingbird Station--have to offer. Go to the Zoo and see the tigers and the gorillas.

Dallas is a great place. Some of the schools may have their kinks, but no school system is perfect, so don't pull that bullcrap. Dallas has some great schools--I know, I went to one.

Please, cut the crap. Writing off the whole state of Texas on account of a handful of truly bad apples is fucking retarded.

(*This college town is the exception to the 1/3 liberal population rule. Here it's more like 1/100 liberal, but it's still a great place.)
posted by internet!Hannah at 9:06 AM on October 6, 2006


And a hell of a lot of other people who've made America and the world a better place.

Don't forget Roky Erikson and the 13th Floor Elevators! And Red Crayola too!
posted by jonp72 at 9:19 AM on October 6, 2006


All this talk of conservative Texas doesn't reflect my incredible experiences in Houston area strip clubs.

Yowza.
posted by dozo at 9:34 AM on October 6, 2006


lord_wolf writes "on metafilter, you can write an unflattering generalization -- even something downright nasty -- about the northeastern or northwestern parts of america, and there's no outcry. some of nor'easterners will even agree with you and add a dis of their own."

I think it's because, generally, complaints about the north are about the conditions (cost of housing, traffic, cleanliness, etc.), whereas when they're about the south, they're about the people themselves (inbred, stupid, crazy). Predictably, a person will get more defensive when you insult them than when you insult something in their environment. Notice, for example, that not all unflattering generalizations about the South get an outcry: talk about the crappy weather, or hurricane season, or the like, and you'll get southerners agreeing with you and adding a dis of their own.

The other reason is that (and I'm not in a neutral position, so I could be wrong), the way insults about the south are phrased, they have very much a flavour of "As everyone knows...", while the insults about the north have a "Unlike most people, I think..." flavour. So an insult against the north, depending on phrasing, comes off weaker than the insult itself ("I, unlike everyone else, who love your region, don't like X"), and insults against the south, depending on phrasing, come off as stronger ("Well, of course, just like everyone else with a brain, I hate the south because of X").

Third, I get the sense that most people who are complaining about the north are people who have actually lived in the north. People who complain about the south are generally (but, of course, not always) people who are just working off of preconceptions, stereotypes, or some 3 day business trip they once took.

None of this is the case every single time. But I think these are the factors that cause the reaction to dissing the south and dissing the north to be different.

And I don't doubt for a minute that someone who has never lived in the south will jump in with the equivalent of "No, that's not why there's a difference in reaction, it's because you all have insane local xenophobic pride."
posted by Bugbread at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


lord_wolf writes "by the way, with regard to seafood, anything texas does, lousiana does about 10 times better."

Yeah. I think (hope) that was understood. "Anything that New England does with seafood, Texas does a little better. And the reason Texas does it a little better is that they learned from Lousiana, which does it a LOT better."
posted by Bugbread at 9:50 AM on October 6, 2006


"Anything that New England does with seafood, Texas does a little better. And the reason Texas does it a little better is that they learned from Lousiana, which does it a LOT better."

true dat.

I think it's because, generally, complaints about the north are about the conditions (cost of housing, traffic, cleanliness, etc.), whereas when they're about the south, they're about the people themselves (inbred, stupid, crazy).

interesting. yeah, now that i think about, that does tend to be the general "flavor" of the comments. thanks for the insight.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:01 AM on October 6, 2006


me, too. but first i would wrap him in cling-film:

Oh dear, I'm at a loss on that. You win Orbison's affections, I'm afraid.

But speaking as a former resident of Texas, I still feel it is still a blotch on the country, on the whole. Just my opinion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 AM on October 6, 2006


Any relation to San Diego anchorwoman ‘Tits’ McGee?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:57 AM on October 6, 2006


I've lived in Texas.

I live in Utah.

I prefer Utah.

That ought to tell you how low my opinion of Texas is.

Texans, on the other hand, were warm and friendly and generally nice people.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:08 PM on October 6, 2006


All this talk of Texas has made me hungry.
posted by NationalKato at 12:52 PM on October 6, 2006


No, I didn't forget the Lake Gulf of Mexico.

I was in Austin most of the time. I did mean to include a disclaimer that I don't think I ever ate any fresh Gulf fish while I was there.

And while I do like Creole food from blackened to gumbo, charring a fish until it is un unrecognizable plank in a thick mixture of strong spices isn't exactly my idea of fine seafood.

I would argue that it is indicative of a culture or province that either doesn't like fish very much, or has some incredibly stinky fish to deal with.

Sorry, Texas. Your fish is stinky.
posted by loquacious at 1:12 PM on October 6, 2006


Texas is a big place. Making generalizations about Texas or Texans is about as useful as stereotyping any average nation and its occupants.

And the only serious requirement of good hot sauce is that it should enhance the flavor of whatever it is added to. Everything else is negotiable. Personally, I like hot sauce that will blister the jar. But only if it tastes good.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on October 6, 2006


From a Dallas-Ft. Worth TV news website:
McGee’s personnel file shows letter, after letter, of parents asking to have their child removed from McGee’s class. Both parents and teachers complained about her performance, personality, and lack of professionalism.

One parent told a school official her child was, “…suicidal prior to leaving that class. He was extremely frightened of her.”
posted by Peach at 1:50 PM on October 6, 2006


Funny. What loquacious said about Oregon was exactly my experience coming back to Texas from the West Coast four years ago. People are nice here. Polite. Even sweet. This is the first place I've lived in a long time where it was actually possible to get to know my neighbors. It wasn't like that in DC nor San Diego. Life is slower. People take time to talk.

And that thing Navelgazer said about Houstonians being "mean"... Gosh, this is the town where folks took in 200,000 Katrina evacuees and lined up around the block to make donations or volunteer. That was an extreme case, of course, but the everyday generosity of Houstonians for charitable causes never ceases to amaze me.

I live in Galveston, which is sort of like New Orleans on Xanax. Quiet and quaint, except at Mardi Gras, Kappa, or the big Motorcycle Rally. The rest of the time we all just live and let live. Yes, the beach is a bit messy with that seaweed and brown sand, but you can still have fun. Y'all come down and visit, but leave your preconceptions and predjudices at home.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:22 PM on October 6, 2006


I've found Houstonians friendlier than Los Angelenos or Tokyoites. And both my parents have said that one of the things they liked when moving down to Texas was that people were much friendlier than they were back in Connecticut and New Jersey.
posted by Bugbread at 7:28 PM on October 6, 2006


Let's not make this about Texas. This situation could've happened in any number of places around the country. It's just the nature of the paranoid, fearful, ignorant, selfish, zero tolerance and dehumanizing time we live in. Everyone is afraid that everyone else is either a terrorist or a sex fiend.

Blech. I suppose it's what the fifties must've been like, except without rock and roll or prosperity and a burgeoning middle class.

In regards to this whole exceedingly sad and unfortunate event. I too call BS on the School board. I bet the teacher justifiably laughed in the principles face when she realized she was being scolded for letting kids see a nude statue at a museum (The Dallas F'in Museum of Art of all places) and things probably went downhill from there. i think they should make public, the name of the family that made the complaint. $5 says they're mucky mucks with major McJesus heft in Frisco or at least with the school district. Why should they be allowed to ruin a woman's life and remain anonymous to the world? I think they should have the self respect to make their ignorance known.
posted by Skygazer at 11:09 AM on October 7, 2006


The woman's a wacko and they were looking for an excuse to fire her. They're trying to get her to allow them to make her personnel file public so the media can get red-faced about how goofy she is. Won't happen, of course--she won't release the file and the media will lose interest even if she does.
posted by Peach at 7:24 PM on October 7, 2006


Yet another article: Records indicate ‘signs of problems' in classroom of MISD teacher
posted by Peach at 7:28 PM on October 7, 2006


From that "damning" article proving McGhe is a "wacko":

The earliest issue occurred in October 1997. A memorandum alleges that the teacher's husband sat in on a parent-teacher conference, and the parent, who later asked that his son be removed from McGee's class, felt the husband was "there to intimidate him."

and

The e-mail alleges that as the parent and child were driving out of the school parking lot, McGee pulled up beside them, "laid on her horn," exited her car and came to the parent's window. The e-mail alleges McGee became "verbally abusive" to the parent and children, and that McGee was in tears and "strangely begging our daughter to acknowledge ... 'love and devotion' for Mrs. [McGee]."


Still sounds like horseshit to me Peach. What am I missing here that proves anything at all? In fact, it makes the school administration look even worse for losing a case against her already.
posted by Skygazer at 11:14 AM on October 8, 2006


Skygazer : "In fact, it makes the school administration look even worse for losing a case against her already."

So if they fire her for going to a museum with tits, that's bad, but if they fire her for something completely unrelated to museum nudes, when they should have fired her earlier, that makes them look worse?

I'm glad my company doesn't work like that. We used to have a guy who should have been fired long, long ago. Instead, my company fired him last year. Apparently, that makes them look worse than if they hadn't fired him. Personally, the guy sucked, and he made work hard for the rest of us with his incompetence. I'm glad they eventually got around to getting rid of him, instead of saying "Well, we can't fire him now, that would make us look worse! We'll just keep his incompetent ass hired for life instead."
posted by Bugbread at 12:35 PM on October 8, 2006


My mistake. I thought it was the same school district. But the one that provided the settlement was the McKinney ISD and these new measures come from the Frisco ISD.

Anyhow this is quite a nice settlement:


From the Star Community Papers article:

The settlement provided that McGee receive $8,295.55 of back pay, a positive letter of recommendation, a letter of apology from district officials, and an order from Cockrill to all parties not to discuss the grievance, according to a copy of the settlement. In exchange, McGee agreed to resign from MISD, which she did by letter dated Aug. 14, 1998. The settlement also released all claims against the district, and stated McGee would not seek a future position with MISD.


and regardless of your ex-workers incompetence Bugbread, this still seems pretty bizarre.
posted by Skygazer at 8:38 PM on October 8, 2006


Skygazer,

I probably overstated my case above. I'm not saying the case isn't weird, or doesn't bear some investigation. I was just saying that if she got fired for past problems instead of nude museums, that certainly doesn't make the school district seem worse.
posted by Bugbread at 12:36 AM on October 9, 2006


I work in education. Often in my experience, when a teacher is dismissed and sues, the school will settle even if it is in the wrong, in order to avoid publicity and excess cost. IMO, it's a stupid practice, and does not support good teachers in a meaningful way, but then I'm a teacher, not an accountant.
posted by Peach at 6:52 AM on October 9, 2006


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