Looks like the BCTF have been plugging the Teach2010's Olympic Resistance for over a year
CityCaucus.com staff could barely get through a level on our office Wii game system last weekend because of the almost constant emails coming in from a BC Teacher's Federation media operative. As you may recall, a flyer circulated by a group calling itself Teach2010 were instructing elementary school teachers on what they dubbed "Olympic Resistance." The flyer featured Dora the Explorer wearing the garb of a Nazi concentration camp prisoner.
We thought it was in poor taste, and asked whether this was something that the people who instruct our kids should be promoting via their website. We consider VESTA's plug for Teach2010 as a tacit endorsement of anti-Games activity.
Well, our friends at the BCTF would have none of it, releasing this statement which we quote from here:
"Reports indicating that the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association is associated with the Olympic Resistance Network are inaccurate," says Chris Harris, President of the Vancouver Elementary Teachers' Association (VESTA). "VESTA is not associated with the Olympic Resistance Network or the organization called Teach2010. VESTA has not endorsed any positions they have taken or any materials they have produced. What VESTA did was provide a link on its website as an item that might be of interest to some members and provide information to staff reps that this event was happening..."
Well, it turns out that VESTA and BCTF have been putting a bit more marketing muscle than just a link on their home page. They've been promoting Teach2010 through their newsletters for over a year.
On the BCTF website there is this newsletter, VESTA News, from November 2008. No doubt many copies were circulated and widely available in school staff room bulletin boards. On page seven, in the bottom right you can read about the new Teach2010 campaign:
Critically Examining the Olympics: A Collaborative Website for Teachers
There is just over a year until the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Teachers may be looking for resources and lessons on the Olympics for their classroom. It is important that teachers provide students with the opportunity to think critically about how the Olympics will impact people and the environment...
The bulletin, written by Vancouver Grade 7 elementary teacher Stephanie Lofquist, also plugs an activist group who call themselves No One is Illegal.
Lofquist had earlier given her project a plug a couple months earlier in the BCTF's Social Justice newsletter from September 2008. She's given all of page 18 to plug her cause and request submissions from other teachers who want to criticize the Games.
While it is fine for any organization to promote dialogue among its members, it's naive if not disingenuous of teacher's union reps to suggest that this was only a link. They've supported the promotion of Teach2010 through several of their communiques for at least 14 months, with no sign of any counterposing viewpoint.
I'm still trying to figure out how promoting only one side of a cause for over a year through websites and printed newsletters, with no sign of any disclaimer from the organization, is not an endorsement.