Classroom Cameras Won't Stop Big Education. This Will.
As a veteran high school teacher, I find the current pushback against CRT both encouraging and alarming — encouraging because it reflects a growing concern and willingness to fight back by parents, alarming because it reflects a naïveté about Big Education. The idea that, as Tucker Carlson suggested, putting cameras in classrooms will put a stop to — or even minimize — the indoctrination in those classrooms is, on multiple levels, both impractical (how many hours would we have to expend monitoring these cameras?) and dangerous, because we no longer can afford to underestimate our enemy. And it is, ladies and gentlemen, our enemy.
During my forty-plus years of teaching — both inside the classroom and outside as a tutor — public education has morphed into Big Education, and it is as protective of itself as are Big Tech and Big Media. Big Education is no longer largely populated by people who believe in teaching critical thinking and knowledge, people who encourage innovation and creativity by modeling those qualities in their own classrooms. Rather, it is populated with generations of teachers and "educators" who worship at the altar of the latest "approved" pedagogy, methodology, and ideology, and who work hard to keep everyone in line.
Big Education, again like Big Tech and Big Media, is particularly adept at repelling foreign invaders and is willing to repel them with great ferocity. These invaders are defined as Anyone from the Outside (those people who have not taken the right courses and don't have the right certificates) and Any Outside Ideas (any ideas that did not originate from within Big Education). For example, in Texas, public school teachers are paid according to the number of years they have taught in public school classrooms. The state does not "count" — it actually ignores — any other type of experience. Thus, my own classroom experience as a public school substitute teacher and in private school classrooms, not to mention my tutoring (for all of my forty-three years and with thousands of students), does not get "counted" when I fill out an application for a public-school teaching position. My experience is listed as just ten years.
Big Education also does not acknowledge Any Outside Idea. When ignoring Any Outside Idea isn't possible, Big Education simply incorporates the Outside Idea in a way that diminishes its role in the classroom dynamic. This is what happened with Rosetta Stone, the spectacularly effective and novel approach to the teaching of foreign languages. Rosetta Stone was so effective — and quickly became so (inconveniently for Big Education) publicly known — that Big Education could not just ignore it. Instead, Big Education incorporated it into the existing foreign language classroom but defined Rosetta Stone as a "supplement," where it resides now collecting dust, along with multiple other "supplements" (which presumably don't work as well). What Big Education quite remarkably did not do was 1) acknowledge Rosetta Stone's paradigm-changing approach, 2) re-evaluate the methods employed to teach foreign languages, or 3) consider redefining the traditional state requirements for foreign language high school graduation credit — from, perhaps, the traditional "two years of foreign language instruction" to "mastery of a foreign language." And — of course — Big Education did not hire fewer foreign language teachers. Nope, Big Education does not allow disruptors (Foreign Invaders) of any kind to breach its walls.
What is striking about CRT and the backlash against it is that this is only the latest example of indoctrination in public schools. It is certainly not the first. If this were a new phenomenon, we would not have generations of young people who believe that socialism is a good idea or who lack basic reading and writing skills. Big Education has been in the indoctrination business for a long time. It has accomplished this primarily by perpetrating one of the biggest cons of my lifetime.
Big Education has convinced parents that they have no other option than sending their children to their local public school because (and here is the Big Lie) no one can be a teacher without a state certificate in teaching. That's why parents today — including Tucker Carlson — continue to direct their time and energy into fixing what is wrong with the system, rather than, as with Twitter and Facebook, creating completely new "platforms."
Here's the truth: anyone who loves a subject and young people can teach. Anyone. There are millions of Americans who would happily step forward to teach (and many would volunteer) if we would only ask. From veterans to retirees to former teachers to the neighbor next door, we have an infinite pool of potential teachers out there from which to choose. There are even some really good public school teachers who would gladly leave their current positions if they had places to go.
The most effective way to win any fight is to take away the power of your opponent. We are already taking away the power of Big Tech and Big Media by refusing to be their customers and moving to valid alternatives. We need to do the same thing with Big Education. We need to take their customer base — our kids — away from them. Permanently.
I believe that parents of today are just as motivated to make sacrifices for their children as parents of previous generations were. I believe that the determination and courage of Americans who came before us exist today. And I believe that the axiom "necessity is the mother of invention" is as true today as ever.
Our children are the frogs in the boiling pot. We need to get them out. Now.
And we need to demand — en masse — that our leaders redirect to us, as citizens and parents, the financial resources given to Big Education so that we can create something new — with teachers we don't have to monitor.
Petra North is the pseudonym for a retired high school teacher. She may be reached at Petra.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Pexels.
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