Don’t Believe The Hype

My father is a retired teacher who spent over thirty years working with special needs children. I was recently discussing my confusion regarding the differing opinions I’d been hearing about our local schools. He stopped me in my tracks with this remark ” Darling so much bullshit is talked about schools and most of it comes from people who know bugger all about  it”. The moral is don’t believe the hype. When it comes to making the choice about where to educate your kids don’t take gossip and heresay on board. Rather do the research yourself. Speak directly to the schools about any concerns you may have.

This point was illuminated for me by a piece of disgraceful journalism in you guessed it – the Murdoch press.  On the 21st of October of this year a story ran in tabloid rag (The Telegraph) and the high end broadsheet (The Australian) titled “Class School Room Cameras Row in NSW”.* The article described how a handful of schools across the state are using CCTV cameras in the classroom as a teaching resource. Our local school was listed as one of those embracing the new technology.

Without consulting the school or apparently doing any research to clarify the facts, the Murdoch press proceeded to phone one of our local parents to ask their opinion. The parent was unaware of any filming in the classrooms and was “shocked” and “scared” that such a thing could be happening without her knowledge.

The set of the next Big Brother?

I made it my business to personally question the Assistant Principal about this matter. It turns out that there was darned good reason the parents had not been informed. This was because the story was a total beat up and not one CCTV camera had been turned on inside the school classrooms. Apparently the NSW School Education Director had brought a camera into the school to discuss the idea of implementing the technology at some point in the future. However as proper protocols had not yet been laid down the system had not been used. To quote the Assistant Principal ” No one even knows how to switch it on yet”.

Obviously the Murdoch press was trying to insinuate that our local school was filming children without their parents permission. This blatant piece of misinformation caused distress to many local families and irritation to the teachers. It was a hassle that the teaching executive did not need and a distraction from the very complicated business of running a good school. I was in two minds about writing this blog piece as I’m mindful of worsening the situation. However I believe that this pathetic attempt to inflame readers with such a glaring inaccuracy needs to be pointed out. In the words of Derryn Hinch – “Shame ,The Telegraph and The Australian, Shame”.

If he owns it, don’t read it.

I’m led to understand that the practice of filming class rooms in common place in Hong Kong and is making inroads in the UK. At the moment a handful of NSW schools are experimenting with the technology but they certainly are not doing it without the full consent of parents.

I re-iterate, when you next find yourself in a discussion about schools make sure you’ve got a salt shaker with you as you’ll need a few grains. Most importantly of all – DONT READ THE MURDOCH PRESS.

Take this along for any discussion about schools.

Love

Mumabulous

*(http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/class-school-room-cameras-row-in-nsw/story-e6frg6n6-1226499853638)

PS: I dont mean to insinuate that News Corp is the only agency that spreads mis information. Nevertheless they do have some form in this department.

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc


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Dear Baby G

10 thoughts on “Don’t Believe The Hype

  1. I’ve been a primary school teacher with various roles in schools for the past 17 years and I totally agree with your Dad. Even within schools, parents can hear a whisper of a rumour and hold car park meetings that ultimately slander someone’s professionalism, without checking facts first. The thing is, when we are talking about our children we become very passionate and often don’t stop to think before we speak. As a parent myself, I know that our first instinct when we feel our child is getting a raw deal is to defend them to the death, and attack anyone who has done them wrong! The issue with the cameras is a prime example. Teachers work hard, and do it for the love of it (you wouldn’t do it for the money!). There are so many legal requirements to follow, would any teacher in their right mind film children on CCTV without parent consent? Seriously….

  2. That’s the first time I have even heard of anyone filming classrooms, wow…

    I agree that there is SO much ‘talk’ around the community about the various schools reps. We had so much information thrown our way when we first moved to Tassie and needed to find a school.

  3. I’m with you Mumabulous. I have kids with special needs and you have to go right to the source (ie the school) to know what’s really going on. The papers are just looking for a sensational story that will sell more of their rags – I don’t believe much of what is printed anymore, there is so much spin placed on every little thing these days. You have a wise father there!

  4. Wow interesting. One thing I am over is the news saying sydney had a super storm last week tryingto compare it to sandy. Talk about trying to hype it up!!

  5. Your dad is right. I’m a teacher too and it frustrates me how much emotional time and energy is wasted on situations that don’t even exist! How much difference could we all make if we (not mentioning names Mr Murdoch) took some responsibility for our behaviour and gee, shock, did things we believed in regardless of whether or not it made money…

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