PERSONAL TO THE LOS ANGELES TEACHERS UNION

Sam Smith

The planned release by the Los Angles Times of the test score standings of individual teachers in your system is one of the worst acts of journalism I’ve run across in a half century in the trade. It’s unfair, cheap and disgusting.

It is a sort of yuppie version of the anti-gay, anti-Muslim or anti-latino movements, but instead of going after someone because of their gender, religion or ethnicity, you pick on some of the weakest people in the economic system and blame them for your troubles.

It’s mean, ignorant and selfish.

Here are a few suggestions for dealing with the problem:

Journalists like to think of themselves as highly ethical. To prove this, how about asking LA Times reporters Jason Felch, Jason Song and Doug Smith to publish all personnel reviews they have received over the past seven years, any notes from mental therapy, and the results of all their physical exams. That way we will know how much to believe them.

Even more productive would be a law suit demanding the release of similar information from all other city workers, including the mayor and the police, fire and sanitation departments. The successful arrest records of all police officers and all public complaints against city officials would be included.

I realize that since local judges might object to being assessed in the manner the LA Times has chosen for teachers, you could have a hard time with such a case, but pursuing it, even if it fails, might remind people, even editors of the LA Times, where decency resides.

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