Alex Newman: TN to Parents-Do NOT Watch Kids’ Online Classes
by Alex Newman
Government education bureaucrats in Tennessee are under fire again after asking parents to sign a form pledging not to watch their children’s online public-school classes, drawing suspicion and criticism from across America. When outrage ensued, officials backed down, but still asked parents not to record or share the lessons.
The nationwide scandal over the requests comes as multiple government-school teachers have been publicly fretting on social media about parents finding potentially out what their children are being exposed to amid virtual classes. It also comes right after Tennessee officials were forced to walk back a plan to send swarms of government agents to perform “wellbeing” checks on every child in the state.
The form in question attempts to justify the bizarre request that parents stay away by claiming that it was about protecting “student privacy” to “the greatest extent possible.” However, with government schools deliberately obliterating privacy rights of children for data-mining and other purposes, and sharing that data with practically anyone, few analysts believe the dubious excuse.
“RCS strongly discourages non student observation of online meetings due to the potential of confidential information about a student being revealed,” explained the form sent home by the Rutherford County Schools district that was obtained by The Tennessee Star. “Violation of this agreement may result in RCS removing my child from the virtual meeting.”
In short, if a parent decided to check on what their child was being taught, that child could be removed from the virtual classroom. According to “educators” who have expressed concerns about parents seeing what is going on, major concerns are that parents might disagree with or even interfere with the indoctrination on gender, sexuality, LGBT, race-mongering, history, and other controversial subjects.
Philadelphia teacher Matthew Kay, for instance, publicly expressed a common concern among teachers recently. “So, this fall, virtual class discussions will have many potential spectators — parents, siblings, etc. — in the same room. We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work?” he wondered without explaining why he was doing “equity/inclusion work.”
“I am most intrigued by the damage that ‘helicopter/snowplow’ parents can do in honest conversations about gender/sexuality,” he continued after saying race “conversations” are in his “wheelhouse,” even worrying about leftist parents being upset. “If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kids [sic] racism or homophobia or transphobia — how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?”
Naturally, parents and citizens were incensed at the form in Tennessee asking them to stay out. The outrage forced the school district to walk back the demands, but officials still insisted that parents would not be allowed to record or share the content. “We are aware of the concern that has been raised about this distance-learning letter that was sent to parents,” district spokesman James Evans told the media.
Claiming that the intent was not to prevent parents from being involved with their children but to “protect” supposed “academic privacy,” Evans said the district has now shifted its policy. “We have issued new guidance to principals that parents can assist their children during virtual group lessons with permission of the instructor but should refrain from sharing or recording any information about other students in the classroom,” he said.
The bizarre request is especially ironic considering that just last week, Tennessee parents were boiling over a plot to send government agents into every family home to check on the “wellbeing” of every child in the state, including homeschoolers. The plan called for the agents to try to speak with the children without parents to check on whether their “needs” were being “met.” Parents who resist would have their information placed in a database.
Apparently phony Republican leaders in the state of Tennessee believe they have a right to propagandize “our” children without interference from parents. Parents, by contrast, have no right to raise their own children without interference from government. Only a massive, nationwide outrage campaign that included furious legislators speaking out forced Governor Bill Lee and “Education” Commissioner Penny Schwinn to go back to the drawing board.
Government is growing increasingly arrogant in its war against families and parents over control of the raising and upbringing of children. Because molding the minds of the next generation is such an awesome power, tyrants everywhere have desperately sought it out. Only educated and active parents will be capable of pushing the tyrants back. They must. Liberty literally depends on it.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook