Hasta La VESTA, baby

Post by Mike Klassen in

4 comments

vesta-news
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.

4 Comments

man these folks just can't get their facts staight. Here's a lesson for you.

It's called face the music VESTA.

This would be funny if their union wasn't always getting so much media attention.

from grades K on up?? Nothing disgusts me more than people who bring their kids along for a good old protest or a come to jesus rally. Now we have our tax money fed to teachers to pollute our kids minds with their own political views? Is this not equally as bad as teaching religious fanatacism or racism?
I guess that is the vision of VISION.

you caught the teacher's union at their old tricks once more. Sad thing is that union officials are in denial mode.

Bob, here's a letter sent into the Vancouver Sun (Oct 23rd) from a VESTA member and Vancouver elementary school teacher. I think it speak for itself...

Re: It’s elementary, my dear children: The Olympics are a sham, by Cam Cole, Oct. 16
I am a teacher in Vancouver and a member of VESTA, the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association.

I have not been directed by any union to teach anything about the Olympics. I would need to find time in my already-full curriculum and very hectic day to do so.

I’m happy to hear that Cam Cole had a typical education from the early ’50s, with all the features of a Norman Rockwell painting, where the happy, smiling teacher teaches wideeyed, predominantly Caucasian students who have likely just finished saying the Lord’s Prayer.

As a primary teacher in 2009 who is out to crush any illusions or dreams my students might possess with subversive, radical anti-Olympic teaching, I will need to get past a few hurdles. On the east side, where I teach, most of my students don’t speak English. Their limited understanding will interfere with their grasp of the complex political and social elements of this radical curriculum.

Students who have arrived again without breakfast likely don’t care who’ll be dribbling caviar and champagne at the next shindig for Olympic VIPs. The special-needs students who are screaming because their aide must leave to work with one of the other 27 special-needs students in the school will likely not listen closely to the antibig-business speech I like to give at the beginning of every Grade 1 year.

Recess arrives and the children are free of my tyranny. Unfortunately, our unsafe playground was removed this summer and will not be replaced, as there is no money for such frivolity. I can’t get to my computer to download more complex radical ideas for these six-year-olds because that side of my classroom has been fumigated for cockroaches, bedbugs and mice, two of which we’ve named Gotcha and Don’tsumi. Yes, Mr. Cole, I agree that you are a lucky man to have been educated in a time of illusions and dreams.

KELLY TAIT North Vancouver

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