On Top of the News
The Case for Cop and Teacher Cams
8/18/14 | Chicago Tribune
Behind the Headline
Lights, Camera, Action!
Spring 2011 | Education Next
As interest has grown in the idea of requiring police officers to wear video cameras, Slate’s Reihan Salam wonders why we don’t also ask teachers to wear them. Salam identifies two distinct uses for videotapes of classrooms. First, they could be used to see if teachers are disciplining students in a race-neutral way. Second, they could allow teachers (and others) to evaluate their performance in the classroom and could help teachers improve. He writes
Video recording could help teachers beat back shrill accusations of incompetence and top-down, one-size-fits-all schemes for measuring effectiveness. Many teachers have, for good reason, resisted the concept of value-added assessments that rely heavily on standardized tests, preferring instead classroom evaluations that involve occasional visits from outside observers. Video recording every class session would give observers far more data to work with, thus giving them a fairer and more complete picture of how well a given teacher is doing day in and day out — not just a brief snapshot drawn from an hour or two.
Video recording is nothing more and nothing less than a tool for accountability. Those who use their power responsibly and who make a good-faith effort to do their jobs well have much to gain from video recording. Those who abuse their power and who otherwise cut corners will either have to shape up or answer for their actions. If you come across an argument against video recording that doesn’t sound like an attempt to avoid accountability, fill me in.
Ed Next’s Mike Petrilli wrote about using video recordings to evaluate teachers in the Spring 2011 issue of Education Next.