When COVID relegated many students to “attending” virtual classes at home, a teacher in a magnet school in Philadelphia had a concern: parents might eavesdrop.
Matthew Kay, a teacher at the Science Leadership Academy, explained his worry in a series of reported tweets. He wrote:
‘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?’ Kay wrote on Twitter.
‘How much have students depended on the (somewhat) secure barriers of our physical classrooms to encourage vulnerability? How many of us have installed some version of “what happens here stays here” to help this?” he continued.
‘While conversations about race are in my wheelhouse, and remain a concern in this no-walls environment – I am most intrigued by the damage that ‘helicopter/snowplow’ parents can do in honest conversations about gender/sexuality…’
‘And while ‘conservative’ parents are my chief concern – I know that the damage can come from the left too. If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kids racism or homophobia or transphobia – how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?’ he concluded.
Wait a minute. This teacher is talking to kids about transphobia? And teaching them in a way that their parents would not approve?
Some responsible adult ought to have monitored his classes years ago.
COVID 19 is laying bare a number of unpalatable truths about our public education system—one is that many teachers refuse to set foot in school to do their jobs, no matter the safety procedures required. This is because their unions seem to regard COVID as a once in a century money-making opportunity.
And another appears to be that certain teachers carve out little empires where they deal with issues that belong in the family, and in a way that would horrify parents. Philly is not the only school system in which this has been discovered.
Officials in a school district in Tennessee (!) was so worried about parents hearing what their children were being taught that it asked parents to sign a form promising not to eavesdrop on their kids’ classes. Parents reacted with anger and now they are allowed to listen with the teacher’s permission, but cannot record class discussions.
Tennessee parent Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder of an organization named Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, went on Fox & Friends to discuss the matter:
“What are they trying to hide? What is the problem? Why won’t they let us sit in?” the homeschool mom of five asked.
“Obviously, because they are teaching our children propaganda that they should not be teaching,” she said. “They are trying to socialize our children.”
She added: “We have had a major problem in education, not just here in Tennessee, but across the country where they are indoctrinating our children with propaganda.”
Cardoza-Moore told Fox & Friends that the school district was acting to prevent parents from knowing the content of their children’s lessons because teachers are pushing “social justice” and shortchanging reading, writing and math.
COVID has been a terrible experience for our nation. I’d never say it is a blessing in disguise. It is not. But it has stripped away some disguises.
As a result of COVID, parents know more about their kids’ schools than ever before. Let’s use this hard-won knowledge to ensure that young kids learn more reading, writing, and arithmetic and less about subjects best left to their parents.