When I was a college journalist, we were going to publish photos of the dirty and messy bathrooms. One editor said, “These are people’s jobs. These are their lives.” That guided me through tens years of journalism.
Today, as a high school English teacher and community-college instructor, I am sickened by the Times’ article and corresponding photos of supposed effective and ineffective teachers. It is a shame someone in the Times’ newsroom did not have that statement in their consciousness: These are people’s jobs. These are people’s lives.
Test scores need to be analyzed in a healthy, constructive environment. This is not what the Times did. This was a “gotcha” moment. This was a “Teachers are to blame” environment, which is malicious – the very definition of libel. If what the Times wants readers to believe – that this was published to help society and kids - the scores would have been presented and discussed with the teachers before publication.
I have been a Times’ subscriber for 15 to 20 years. I used to aspire to be a Times’ reporter. I am now embarrassed to admit both. I have cancelled my subscription. However, I will save the articles and use them with future my AP Language classes to teach rhetoric and author/editor’s intent.