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Monday May 20th 2024

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Public Schools Out of Control

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Yesterday, we learned that at a poorly performing Rhode Island school, Superintendent Frances Gallo intends to fire every teacher this month because the teachers union refuses to comply with the elements of the intended “transformation plan” that includes 25-minute longer school day, summer teaching training, lunch with the kids once a week, and pre- and post-school tutoring. The union said no way without additional pay when talking about teachers who average $78k per year in a community where the average annual income is $22k. (Meanwhile, students at the school held a rally yesterday in support of Gallo, according to the Associated Press.) It’s wonderful to see a Superintendent standing up to the teachers union bullies who have apparently already created quite a sweet deal for its members.


"If true, these allegations are about as creepy as they come."

Today, the news is out of Pennsylvania. Parents at the Helm, you should probably sit down for this one. The story begins with Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, a class action lawsuit charging¬† that school administrators covertly activated the web cams on the laptops the school distributed to high school students and “have used this facility to spy on students and even their families,” according to a February 17, 2010 story on BoingBoing. “The issue came to light when the Robbins’s child was disciplined for ‘improper behavior in his home’ and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.”

From the article:

If true, these allegations are about as creepy as they come. I don’t know about you, but I often have the laptop in the room while I’m getting dressed, having private discussions with my family, and so on. The idea that a school district would not only spy on its students’ clickstreams and emails (bad enough), but also use these machines as AV bugs is purely horrifying.

Schools are in an absolute panic about kids divulging too much online, worried about pedos and marketers and embarrassing photos that will haunt you when you run for office or apply for a job in 10 years. They tell kids to treat their personal details as though they were precious.

But when schools take that personal information, indiscriminately invading privacy (and, of course, punishing students who use proxies and other privacy tools to avoid official surveillance), they send a much more powerful message: your privacy is worthless and you shouldn’t try to protect it.

Enough is enough. Please share this information with every parent of school children you know. Do whatever you have to do to bring your children home to learn. If one district has tried it, I guarantee there are others either doing the same or thinking about it. Such arrogance as this is illness. I’m feeling that up to this point I’ve been far too kind in my criticism of the unmitigated gall it requires to treat our children the way they are treated in government schools. I respectfully request your continued support of Parent at the Helm as I do whatever I can do to make things better for children before I’m gone. That’s it for this one. My hands are shaking too much to type more.

UPDATE: Additional information available at PrisonPlanet as of today’s date.

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