Cameras in the Classroom

Iowa, Florida lawmakers introduce bills

A security camera mounted on a wall

Iowa lawmakers have introduced a bill requiring cameras in public school classrooms so that parents can see what their children are learning, NBC News reports.

“The Iowa bill, H.F. 2177, would require that cameras be placed in every public school classroom in the state, except for physical education and special education classes,” says the NBC story, which also notes, “Last month, Republican lawmakers in Florida introduced a bill similar to the Iowa proposal, H.B. 1055, that would require cameras in classrooms and require teachers to wear microphones.”

In “A Post-Covid Case for Classroom Cameras” (What Next, Spring 2021) Education Next executive editor Michael Petrilli laid out the case. “Teachers are professionals, yes, but teaching is a fundamentally public act, especially in public schools,” he wrote. “The upsides are obvious for students and teachers alike. Kids who are sick or snowed in at home can keep up with schoolwork from the couch, and students sentenced to in-school suspension can watch class from down the hall. All students can rewatch recorded lessons when they are struggling with homework or studying for a test. Teachers looking for feedback and support can easily share recorded lessons with administrators, instructional coaches, and peers as a powerful means of professional learning.”

Petrilli also anticipated resistance: “Privacy isn’t the only concern for teachers. Some also worry about scrutiny of what and how they’re teaching.”

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