Posts Tagged ‘Rafe Esquith Huckleberry Finn’

Rafe Esquith Should Come and Work in Australia

July 11, 2015



Rafe Esquith, the most highly decorated and inspiring teacher on the planet has been sent to what is referred to as “teacher jail.” He has been removed from the classroom for what seems as technicalities, overreactions and perhaps a bit of jealousy.

As a result we have witnessed a real failing of the L.A. Unified School District and the U.S. public school system in general.

For instance:

Why hasn’t this investigation been conducted with greater speed? Removing the best teacher you have since March is not a good result for his students. Get on with it already!

Why has this suspension been conducted in such secrecy? Doesn’t Rafe and his myriad of followers deserve to know why such a highly decorated teacher is deemed unfit to continue in his position? This is not a case for behind closed doors. Rafe’s supporters deserve to know why the educator they have modeled their own teaching on is considered a possible threat to his students.

Where are the teachers union on this one? Here was your chance to stand up for your most famous member. And how have you reacted? By sitting on the fence. Get off the fence and do what you are supposed to do – fight for teacher’s rights! Why is it that all the legal threats is coming from Rafe’s personal lawyers. I need to see more from the union.

Rafe, give up on this inflexible and non-cohesive system and come work in Australia!



Click on the link to read Are the Teachers Union Backing Rafe Esquith?

Click on the link to read Rafe Esquith Fights Back!

Click on the link to read #StandByRafe

Click on the link to read The Teacher I Most Look Up To, Removed from the Classroom

Rafe Esquith Fights Back!

June 23, 2015


I am an unabashed supporter of Rafe Esquith. His books and teaching methods have been extremely important to my professional growth.

I hope he emerges from the saga that has seen him suspended, vindicated and triumphant.


From his modest classroom at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in Koreatown, Rafe Esquith became an education superstar. His teaching techniques brought him worldwide recognition, and his books became models for how to engage young students.

But for the last two months of school, Esquith was sidelined. The Los Angeles Unified School District launched an investigation in March into allegations of misconduct by the popular teacher.

His attorneys said the investigation is related to comments about nudity that he made to students. In addition, they said L.A. Unified also is looking into Esquith’s nonprofit, the Hobart Shakespeareans, a drama group for students.

The decision to put him on leave — and keep him there for so long — has outraged supporters. But district officials have not backed down, saying that regardless of his celebrity, they won’t send him back to school until their investigation is completed.

The standoff comes as the school district struggles to recover after a series of scandals involving teachers and administrators accused of sexual misconduct with students. L.A. Unified last year paid a record $139 million to the victims of a Miramonte Elementary School teacher who was allowed to stay in the classroom even after complaints about his behavior with students.

Some see the Esquith case as part of the district’s effort to reform in the wake of the scandals. But whether it is an overcorrection remains a matter of much debate.

In his first interview since he was pulled from his fifth-grade class, Esquith told The Times on Monday that controversy stemmed from a joke he made in the classroom.

He said he quipped with students that if he could not raise enough money for the annual Shakespearean play, they would all have to perform their parts naked like the king in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

After another teacher complained, he said he explained the context of the joke to his principal at Hobart Boulevard Elementary. The principal, he said, told him he had nothing to worry about. Nonetheless, Esquith was removed from the classroom in April.

“We overreact to everything. That’s the American way and I’m a victim of that overreaction,” Esquith said. “I want to fix this system. I want to make sure that teachers do not have to go through the same thing that I went through.”


Click on the link to read #StandByRafe

Click on the link to read The Teacher I Most Look Up To, Removed from the Classroom

Click on the link to read This is the Way a Teacher Should Retire (Video)

Click on the link to read Inspiring Act by Professor Goes Viral


June 20, 2015


It’s time to send the message to those responsible for suspending the greatest teacher working today to offer their own resignations and install the great Rafe Esquith. To suspend him for any more time is to further damage the reputation of a leading teacher and a mentor to myself and many others.

I have read all of Rafe’s books and have used some of his strategies and ideas to wonderful effect in my own classroom. I am deeply upset that his students have been deprived of his vision, energy and creativity since March and that his Shakespeare show has had to be cancelled this year.

And all for what? A passage from the great Huckleberry Finn!


Without providing more details about the allegations against a nationally recognized teacher, the leader of Los Angeles Unified said the district will not rush an investigation into why the instructor was removed from the classroom simply because of his popularity.

Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said the probe into allegations of misconduct against longtime Hobart Boulevard Elementary School teacher Rafe Esquith is “very complex” and must be handled carefully.

He added, “The Los Angeles Unified School District will not be rushed to make a decision and will complete our investigation with the highest level of integrity. The safety and security of every district student will remain our number one priority.”

Esquith’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said earlier this week that the district had 10 days to issue a public apology and return the award-winning teacher to the classroom or he would sue the system.

Parents and former students also are demanding more information about the investigation into Esquith, who has written several books on teaching and received multiple awards for his work. His attorneys said he was pulled from the classroom after a complaint about a Mark Twain passage that he read in class.

On Friday, Ben Meiselas, an attorney who works with Geragos, said, “We now welcome Supt. Cortines as a defendant to our lawsuit if he does not issue an apology during the time frame we provided.”

That 10-day period ends June 26, he said.

“Supt. Cortines’ statement sadly and shockingly confirms what we have said since day one,” Meiselas said. “This is a fishing expedition of the worst kind by bureaucrats who don’t know a thing about the classroom. Apparently, after the ‘initial’ investigation was found to be meritless, LAUSD has taken it upon itself to manufacture new ways to attempt to defame Mr. Esquith.”

Esquith was removed from his classroom in March and is now home waiting for the results of the district’s investigation, which is expected to be completed before school starts in August.

Geragos said the district has not clearly outlined the allegations against the popular teacher, but he learned that the investigation stemmed from a complaint by another teacher after Esquith read to a class a passage from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.

The passage, which is much longer, includes this section: “The duke and the king worked hard all day, setting up a stage and curtain and row of candles for footlights. … At last, when he’d built up everyone’s expectations high enough, he rolled up the curtain. The next minute the king came prancing out on all fours, naked. He was painted in rings and stripes all over in all sorts of colors and looked as splendid as a rainbow.”

On Friday, Esquith’s attorneys offered more context about a joke that Esquith made following the reading of the literary passage.

Meiselas said Esquith, who puts on an annual Shakespearean play, joked with students that if he could not raise enough funding, the class would have to perform naked like the king in the book. Meiselas said he learned about the joke Friday after asking Esquith for more details about his use of the passage.

Esquith’s nonprofit, the Hobart Shakespeareans, cancelled 12 performances of “The Winter’s Tale,” which were set to begin April 23.

District officials this month also required Esquith to cancel a trip with students to attend the Shakespearean Theatrical Festival in Oregon.

In a letter to Esquith, officials said the trip had not been authorized or sponsored by the district “as evidenced by the lack of authorization via the proper channels for field trip authorization.”

Esquith, who wrote three books, including “Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: the Methods and Madness inside Room 56,” has received national recognition for his teaching abilities. He also has criticized what he considers to be too much testing and scripted teaching methods. 


If Mother Teresa was a public school teacher in America, she would have been suspended too!


Click on the link to read The Teacher I Most Look Up To, Removed from the Classroom

Click on the link to read This is the Way a Teacher Should Retire (Video)

Click on the link to read Inspiring Act by Professor Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Is There Anything More Important Than ‘Knowing’ Your Students?


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