LA Times’ (troublesome) Recent Additions

A few weeks back, LA Times decided to rate LAUSD teachers. Their “findings” were posted on its website. The Times’ reasoning behind publishing the “Teacher Ratings” is “they bear on the performance of public employees who provide an important service, and in the belief that parents and the public have a right to the information.” This is after a half-assed disclaimer that states the “value-added measures do not capture everything that goes into making a good teacher or school…” Why title the scores “Teacher Rating” if they do not effectively rate teachers? Needless to say, these non-rating “ratings” have caused a ripple, but not just by teachers. The Times itself has published several articles detailing the backlash that range from a teacher who committed suicide after the ratings suggested he was a “below-average” teacher to the protest teachers staged on the Times building doorstep. It seems to me that if the Times were truly interested in advancing education in Los Angeles they would have highlighted the great teachers in series of articles, or they have fashioned their “ratings” differently. (Why not uplift those who need the most?) Instead, they chose sexier, more appalling route by bashing teachers in hopes of attracting rubberneckers. This is the same strategy employed by your nightly local news. I mean not to compare the Time to KTLA 5 wait..the Times’ site has links that direct visitors to KTLA’s website. Never mind. I continue…one would think that after “Teacher Rating” backlash the Times would become more sensitive when dealing the community, right? Wrong.

A little while ago, LA Time published something they call the “Los Angeles Crime Map”. It does just what it says. It maps crimes committed in LA County and distinguishes them by type. This is not the first time LA had something of this nature. LA Times has a Homicide Report (HR) that tracks all the murders committed in LA County. Sounds worse than it is. The HR’s purpose is to “provide a forum for readers to remember victims and to discuss violence in their communities.”. In many cases, the Times sends a reporter out to the victim’s family to gather information about the victim’s life. In reading the report on HR, the victim often retains his or her humanity. This is the goal of the Homicide Report.  Only if the Crime Map were as noble.

The Crime Map’s goal, as spoken by Metro editor Megan Garvey, is to allow residents to track crime in a given area. Maybe it’s just me, but I never wonder what criminal activities occur in my neighborhood. For the most part, I am aware that I live in a city in which crime occurs, and being in raised in the city, I take my daily precautions. I do not need to check criminal weather report to know there is a 30% chance rain. One of the more fascinating details about The Crime Map is its timing. Over the past few months, several articles have been written about LA’s decrease in both murders and violent crimes. Given the facts, doesn’t this map idea seem a tad disingenuous? Furthermore, tracking crimes does not lead to fewer crimes. If the Times were truly interested in serving its residents, it would be more proactive and write about the why these crimes occur instead of being reactionary. As it stands now, the CM

crime by acting as a scorecard for crime. One could argue that the Homicide Report sensationalizes, but by reading Pedro Hernandez’s or Donnell Washington’s posts, it would be tough to support.

Of course...Compton

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