Big Teacher Is Watching You

John Seiler: Government already spies on us almost continuously. Now this:

No kid will be safe slacking off in the back of the classroom if a new type of video camera invented by Teachscape, a San Francisco-based company, makes its way into California classrooms.

It’s a camera called Teachscape Reflect that takes 360-degree video images of a classroom, and is intended to help improve instruction and evaluate how effective teachers are in reaching all the students in their classrooms.

“Teachscape” even sounds like the universal “telescreens” in George Orwell’s “1984” novel. It sounds amusing that the cameras supposedly would target slackers. But slackers exist because government school rooms are boring, their inmates young prisoners. Here’s Orwell’s description from his novel:

Behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

The design of Teachscape is not to improve teaching, but to force students to get used to universal spying, obedience to the totalitarian state and slavery.

This is yet another reason why government schools should be closed down, and truancy laws repealed. Return the saved tax money to parents and let them choose how to school their own kids — or not. Even letting the kids roam the streets would be better than this pedagogical totalitarianism.

April 12, 2011

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