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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Access to Classrooms for Parents

With all the problems associated with school shootings and ongoing disciplinary problems, why don’t we offer classroom access to parents? Video access would hold teachers, students, and administrators accountable for their actions. Parents would be able to tune in throughout the day and could watch first-hand exactly what their children are learning and doing. They might even be able to make sense of some of the ridiculous things their children are learning today (like common core math, for instance).

Common core math aside, some parents want to help their children with homework but have been out of school for so long, they don’t remember what they learned. And learning new ways to solve old problems (common core math again – something many parents find ridiculous because what could be a 3-step process now adds multiple steps to arrive at the same conclusion) could stimulate our brains. By tuning into classroom lectures and assignments, parents can update their skills and be able to check homework.

Video cameras could be placed in the upper corner of each classroom and parents could tune in throughout the day to view their child’s activities. Each year, each student’s parents would be given a code to access the camera (we don’t want random pedophiles accessing classrooms). If anything disruptive occurs, schools can save the evidence on thumb drives for possible disputes.

What this type of accountability means is no more “he said/she said” situations, no more bullying – of a child or a teacher by a child or by a teacher – parents and administrators alike will know with certainty what is happening in their child’s classroom.

Yes, video cameras are expensive, so schools, especially those that are inadequately funded, should not be expected to handle the cost, but interested parents could pool their money and fund the cameras themselves. Or the school could hold fundraisers to raise money.

I would have loved to have had that kind of accountability when my kids were in grammar school. One teacher was so inept that when one of my kids got this woman as a teacher and dropped from an A in math to a D, I became suspicious. Fortunately I was taking algebra in college at the time, so I was able to help my daughter with her homework. I would go over the instructions with her and within seconds, she “got it,” but it wasn’t until the following year, when my son, who was also an A student in math, dropped to a D when he had the same woman, that I thought maybe it was a problem with the teacher after all. 

Though I had complained to the principal the prior year, asking why my daughter came home not understanding anything and then, after a couple of minutes with me, understood everything, the principal explained that maybe I “refreshed her memory.”  The problem, I later learned, was not with my kids; it was with the teacher. Because that teacher had tenure, the principal backed her up. With a video camera, that teacher would have been responsible for actually teaching my kids.

So what do you think? Do you agree? 

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