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How the News Covers Rafe Esquith

Compiled by Susan Ohanian

The Rafe Esquith story should provoke us to think a moment or two about how we know what we know. Here's the Rafe Esquith story in current headlines.

Rafe Esquith fired: Former Teacher of the Year accused of inappropriately touching minors, by Zahira Torres and Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 14, 2015

The Los Angeles Board of Education voted this week to fire nationally recognized teacher Rafe Esquith, following a misconduct investigation that included allegations he made an improper joke to students and inappropriately touched minors, according to sources with knowledge of the decision.

Famed teacher files $1B class-action suit against L.A. schools, Ann O'Neill, CNN, Oct. 15, 2015

The nation's second largest school district has been hit with a $1 billion class-action lawsuit alleging it conducts "witch hunts" against older teachers in a "shrewd" effort to save money on retirement benefits.

The suit was filed Thursday on behalf of about 2,000 teachers by Rafe Esquith, 61, one of the Los Angeles Unified School District's best-known and most popular teachers.

Attorney for famed teacher Rafe Esquith files class action suit against L.A. Unified by Zahira Torres Los Angeles Times, Oct. 15, 2015

An attorney for celebrated Los Angeles Unified teacher Rafe Esquith on Thursday accused the district of employing an “investigative hit squad” to drum up false charges against older, well-paid teachers in an effort to avoid paying their retirement benefits.

Teacher Rafe Esquith's misconduct investigation is a high-profile test for LAUSD's 'tiger team' by Howard Blume and Zahira Torres, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 15, 2015

When a colleague complained that Rafe Esquith, the most celebrated teacher in Los Angeles, had made a joke about nudity to his fifth-grade students, the district called into action a newly formed squad of investigators to get to the bottom of it.

Internally dubbed the "tiger team," the unit was created last year in the wake of repeated sex abuse scandals that had long plagued the nation's second-largest school district. These investigators were supposed to cut through the bureaucracy's red tape and investigative backlog and quickly ferret out wrongdoing.

Report: Legendary L.A. Teacher Rafe Esquith Fired for Misconduct, by Elisha McNeill, Education Week, Oct. 15, 2015

The Los Angeles Board of Education has voted to fire renowned elementary school teacher Rafe Esquith amid allegations of misconduct, including that he inappropriately touched minors, according to The Los Angeles Times.

World-famous teacher files $1 billion lawsuit against Los Angeles schools to end teacher jail by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2015

The suit says they were wrongly removed from their classrooms without clearly stated reasons and sent to an administrative office, known as "teacher jail,”"pending investigations into their behavior. The suit alleges that the teachers’ rights were violated and and that they were each deprived of half a million dollars in pension and health benefits by being forced to resign or being fired, the Los Angeles Times reported. It seeks an end to "
"teacher jail."

Teacher's $1B Lawsuit Accuses LA District of Targeting Older Educators, by Morgan Chilson, NewsMax, Oct. 16, 2015

A well-known, popular Los Angeles teacher filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit Thursday along with 2,000 other instructors who are accusing the city's school district of taking action against older educators.

Question: How long will it take the New York Times to decide to cover this story? Put "Rafe Esquith" into a search at The Times and what appears for the past year is this authorless item from Reuters: Award-Winning Teacher Fired Over Misconduct Allegations: LA Times

Keep searching and you'll find this item from 2003:

The director Ron Howard, the dancer and choreographer Suzanne Farrell, the dancer and choreographer Tommy Tune and the conductor Leonard Slatkin were among 10 recipients awarded the 2003 National Medal of Arts by President and Mrs. Bush in ceremonies yesterday in the Oval Office. The winners of the medals, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, are chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts. Others honorees were the children's book author Beverly Cleary, the blues musician Buddy Guy, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the country singer and songwriter George Strait, the arts educator Rafe Esquith and the PBS television show "Austin City Limits." ELIZABETH OLSON

That's the entire item: arts educator Rafe Esquith.

— compiled by Susan Ohanian




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