In sup­port of LAUSD teacher

Los Angeles Times - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re “LAUSD given ul­ti­ma­tum in teacher case,” June19

Hav­ing known and sup­ported the work of na­tion­ally ac­claimed teacher Rafe Esquith for more than 25 years, I find the Los An­ge­les Uni­fied School Dis­trict’s be­hav­ior in re­mov­ing him fromhis class­room shock­ing but not sur­pris­ing, given that it is al­legedly based on hav­ing his stu­dents read Mark Twain’s “Huck­le­berry Finn.”

There are ob­vi­ously mul­ti­ple of­fenses here, not the least of which is that Esquith’s stu­dents read. They also do math and per­form on mu­si­cal in­stru­ments. The hor­ror!

Worse, Esquith ac­tu­ally ex­pects his to stu­dents to think for them­selves about sup­pos­edly racist or sex­ist ma­te­rial, to weigh it, con­sider it and learn to draw in­formed con­clu­sions. He has the gall to be­lieve that learn­ing is ac­com­plished in a class­room with books and not ex­pen­sive iPads.

In an age when some teens from sup­pos­edly ad­vanced Western so­ci­eties are ro­manced by the sim­plis­tic com­fort found in the fas­cist think­ing of racists and ji­hadists, we should ap­plaud teach­ers who con­front chil­dren with chal­leng­ing, com­plex ma­te­rial in a con­text of in­tel­lec­tual in­quiry.

We should all be ashamed of our­selves for the­way this teacher— and oth­ers less fa­mous— have been han­dled by this school dis­trict.

Louis Fan­ta­sia

Los An­ge­les

How ironic that in un­fairly re­mov­ing teacher Esquith fromthe class­room, the school dis­trict faulted him for read­ing to stu­dents from Mark Twain’s “Huck­le­berry Finn,” ac­cord­ing to his lawyer.

In the process, LAUSD sim­ply cor­rob­o­rated another ex­am­ple of Twain’s wis­dom: “In the first place God­made id­iots. Thiswas for prac­tice. Then He made school boards.” Daniel D. Vic­tor

Los An­ge­les

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