Football great Bum Philips said of his job, “There’s two types of coaches. Them that’s been fired and them that’s gonna be fired.”
The same is true of conservative columnists in newspapers.
Before I was fired as the “conservative” columnist at the Boulder Daily Camera for being “not the right kind of conservative” (and Boulder editors would know), I would receive the most spectacular hate mail over what I wrote.
The second highest volume of hate mail came from my column suggesting that there be cameras in public school classrooms so that parents can see what and how their kids are really taught.
You would have thought I was promoting school shootings and a return to segregation. It seemed every teacher, spouse of a teacher and friend of a teacher found the thought a direct assault on their right to privacy. They didn’t need no parents observing their work.
Even better than Terry McAuliffe saying, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” is a system that says, “I don’t think parents should be able to see what their kids are taught.”
Now keep in mind this was nearly 20 years ago, just a little before the online revolution made close-circuit television common and easy. Fair point that such a system would be costly then. Not so now.
Today we have Ring cameras and doorbells allowing any homeowner to whip out her smart phone and in real time see and hear what’s going on in and around her home. I have cameras to spy on my dog because I swear to God, he’s hiding my TV remote. But I can’t see what my own kid is being taught?
Why do I have a feeling that most of those Boulderites who hated my suggestion later supported the idea of police officers wearing body cameras on the job? As it turns out, most cops love their body cams because it exonerates them of false allegations. Teachers would find the same benefit.
How dare teachers be videoed at work! Hmm, look up over any bank teller or store clerk. How many times have you heard, “this conversation may be recorded for quality control purposes?” Modern private-sector workers are taped for evaluations and trainings. Customers benefit.
So, are kids the customers of public education — or are teachers?
Many — and nearly all larger — school districts have policies against the use of recording devices in the classroom. Students can’t record classes to help them later review and study. Certainly, the privacy of other kids must be held paramount and only parents should be allowed to witness their children’s classes, but technology is making all that possible.
There is only one benefit of COVID. It did what limp school boards and protective teacher unions wouldn’t do — bring cameras in the classrooms for parents to see what is really being taught.
It’s not a big surprise that as kids were sentenced to “remote” learning, the backlash to Critical Race Theory being propagandized in schools exploded. We got to hear it for ourselves.
Sure, school districts claim they aren’t teaching what most of us consider pure racism — that we are not the content of our character, but really, we are our skin color. School districts could say, “hey, look at our curriculum. No racism there.”
But we heard it come out of our children’s computers. Personally, I heard my daughter getting preached to about her crimes of systematic racism in her economics class, her literature class and, of course, in her yoga class!
While Colorado won’t move on transparency for parents, the state of Iowa is. Lawmakers there introduced legislation to require cameras to be install in almost all K-12 classrooms and that parents be able to live-stream their kid’s classes.
If our legislature won’t lead on this, local school boards should.
Oh, what column got me the most hate mail, you ask? That would be the one where I argued instead of spending hundreds of dollars each to catch and release prairie dogs in the city park, we just shoot them. I said that rounds of .22 ammunition cost about 2 cents each, and even if it took 10 shots to get one of the little bastards, it would cost less than a quarter.
My lesson? Teacher unions over parents. Prairie dogs over kids.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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