State lawmakers in Iowa want to give parents a literal behind-the-scenes look at their children’s education.
They want cameras in classrooms.
According to media reports from Friday, the bill would put cameras in every K-12 classroom except physical education and special education so parents could log in and live stream the class.
The bill would mandate that any faculty member who deactivated or obstructed the camera would be fined with 5 percent of his or her salary.
The measure was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Norlin Mommsen.
The teachers’ unions, who have repeatedly fought for teaching on camera by rejecting attempts to get their members back in the classroom during the pandemic, were not pleased.
“Some politicians around the country want to limit not only what history our kids can learn about and what books they can read, censor the truth of our history in some cases, and, now in Iowa, they want to install classroom cameras for live monitoring of teachers,” Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, told NBC News.
“Instead of wasting public funds on monitoring equipment, we should employ additional qualified professionals, reduce class sizes, and provide more programming that helps students acquire the skills they need,” Pringle added.
As for the Iowa state union, President Mike Beranek called Mommsne’s bill “completely outrageous and dangerous.”
Yet Mommsen countered that good teachers would have nothing to fear from allowing parents to see what goes on in the classroom.
“I think we need to showcase the great work our teachers do,” Mommsen told the website The Center Square this week.
He argued his bill is not promoting Big Brother but parental involvement in their children’s education.
“Similar to a body camera on a policeman, a camera takes away the ‘he said, she said’ or ‘he said, he said,’ type argument and lets them know ‘hey, we are doing a good job.’ It takes that argument away,” he said.
Mommsen also wondered why teachers would object. He said having a camera in the classroom would demonstrate that there is not a “sinister plot” to promote policies parents might find objectionable – such as promoting Critical Race Theory and anti-white history or nontraditional sexual mores.