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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-10-09 04:52 PM
Original message
Today's LA Times story on teachers
This time, the LA Times describes the most sensational examples of molesters in the classroom.

Once again, the LA Times' seems to be confused about what constitutes journalism, or maybe I'm confused about what constitutes the Fourth Estate's job.

While I am not disputing the few facts presented in the story (when there are any), it's what is missing that is troubling.

First up, the story is part of a series, which the LA Times describes as being about "California public school districts' effectiveness in removing teachers and other educators who harm or poorly serve their students."

But, so far it has been concentrating exclusively on LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District). What's missing is the rest of the state of California. What's also missing is any review of the system that the series is purportedly about; it only seems to be all about teachers and how bad they are and how the LA Times is sure are out there everywhere. No mention of privatization or superstitious belief, just teachers as the sole problem facing public education.

Secondly, the stories don't really prove their argument--not that a real investigation has an agenda going in, mind you--but an assertion is made and examples are then given to back it up.

Again, it's not what is presented that is in dispute. This kind of "reporting" fails because it excludes more than it includes.

What's missing is any context.

The first story in the series discussed teachers who are accused of some kind of misconduct but who are paid while the investigation is conducted. The even-handed title for this piece? L.A. Unified pays teachers not to teach. Not "School Administrators Take Fucking Forever to Do Fitness Assessment" (thank you DUer MrModerate) or "Fewer Than 4/10th of 1% of LAUSD Teachers Are Investigated For Misconduct". Of course not. Instead, the LA Times bashes teachers with their lopsided "report" going so far as to include the phrase "FAILURE GETS A PASS" as part of the title. Another missing part of the LA Times' coverage is that this practice is common. So common that The New Republic published a piece about the same program in New York.

Now, on to today's part of the series. The LA Times takes on molesters. I'm not going to make excuses for that kind of behavior; it's disgusting and people who prey on children should be in prison.

But, this is no excuse for the LA Times' lousy reporting. Again, too much is missing from their "investigation" to elevate it above the tabloid. By relying on the sensational aspect of the story, they forget to mention how often this happens and if it is more or less frequent than in past years. With this kind of information, the reading public can know how effective (or ineffective) the current administrators are at enforcing policy. In other words, readers can find out how effective LAUSD is when it comes to removing teachers and other educators who harm or poorly serve their students.

As it is, the LA Times story leaves their readership believing their assertion that all Los Angeles public school teachers are molesters who get paid for doing nothing and that they represent all of California.

Here's the link to the editorial, and here is the excerpt to today's piece ...

From the Los Angeles Times
A TIMES INVESTIGATION
Accused of sexual abuse, but back in the classroom
L.A. Unified has failed to follow up on complaints once police or prosecutors dropped criminal actions, leaving students vulnerable to molesters.
By Jason Song
May 10, 2009
(...)

A jury late last year ordered the Los Angeles Unified School District to pay nearly $1.6 million to the families of three girls molested by Ricardo Guevara, who is now serving 15 years in prison for lewd acts with a child.

But there was something the jury -- and the public -- was never told: This was the third set of accusations that Guevara had molested students. Twice before, when law enforcement officials had decided they lacked the evidence to win a criminal conviction, L.A. Unified officials had quietly put him back in the classroom.

Guevara's case fits a pattern, a Times investigation shows: Repeatedly, the district failed to follow up on sexual misconduct complaints against employees once police or prosecutors dropped criminal actions. Some ended up at new schools. In at least one instance -- involving Guevara -- the new principal had no idea of his history.

(more at the link)


--Los Angeles Times


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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-10-09 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. We teachers going to work every day and doing our
best for the kids just isn't an interesting story.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-10-09 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. The GOP-controlled media (LA Times) seems to have been looking ...
... for crap when they started their "investigation" and they wrote something to confirm that.

It's too bad reporters can't just report all that they find, not just the bad stuff.

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Joe Fields Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-10-09 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. It is all just soooooo grossly unfair of the Times to print the facts...


BTW, you're welcome for the kick.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-10-09 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. At least allow me to thank you first! n/t
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