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Editorial: Compliments to Cortines for pursuing Esquith probe

LA School Report | December 14, 2015



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By The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

When famed teacher Rafe Esquith was yanked from his fifth-grade classroom and an investigation was opened into possible sexual and financial misconduct, parents in the Los Angeles Unified School District— and the larger education world — gasped.

Esquith was as iconic as he was iconoclastic. A winner of the National Medal of Arts and Disney’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year award, he was known for breaking down traditional walls of elementary education, inspiring students to love and perform Shakespeare, and teaching, as he put it in one of his books, as though his hair were on fire. Students, parents and pundits rallied to his side, bolstered by support from actor Ian McKellen, claiming that L.A. Unified administrators simply couldn’t stand the attention that such a great teacher attracted.

Recent documents released by the district provide a more off-putting glimpse of Esquith’s behavior.

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