Vision's Bacchus: "We needed the cash" (flyer above shows Dora at Buchenwald)
Today's headline story at The Province is about those attention-loving Olympic cynics, and the politicians and unions that love them. Mike Smyth should be commended on his feature commentary on this embarrassment that peels back the comfy relationship Vision Vancouver maintains with teacher's union radicals.
Since Smyth's column was posted online, Vision School Board chair Patti Bacchus has posted comments to clarify her statements around this controversy, and by doing so buries herself and her party even deeper into this quagmire.
The controversial leaflet above advertising the event at an east side school was promoted on the website of VESTA, the local of the BC Teacher's Union (BCTF) responsible for Vancouver elementary school kids (ages 5-12). On VESTA's website (which has a glaring typo in the navigation - "COMMITTIEES" - oops, we're only educators) the event was described as follows:
Teaching 2010 Resistance - Teachers' Night
This is an open invitation for teaching professionals to review a critically-minded Olympics workshop, to collaborate in adapting materials for elementary students, and to learn about the existing and growing teaching resources currently being developed. Info here.
Note, this information has now been removed from VESTA's website. The organization claims to have no position on the Olympics, but the only information one could find on their site was from group opposed to the Games.
The flyer circulated by the teacher's union showed cartoon character Dora the Explorer garbed as someone in a Nazi concentration camp. The Teacher's Union radicals are showing like-minded educators how to adapt materials to turn little our little ones to APC wannabes.
Blaming government boosterism and tight cash Bacchus told Mike Smyth that a "balanced approach" is required:
Bacchus had no problem renting out a classroom to the Olympic Resistance Network for the Oct. 28 workshop. “We need every dollar we can get,” she said.
Bacchus tries to explain herself in a comment:
My understanding of the situation – which I tried to explain to Mr. Smyth in our telephone conversation — is that the Olympic Resistance group invited the local teachers’ association to attend a workshop they were holding in a space they rented from the school district. Many groups rent space and it is a much-needed revenue stream for the underfunded school district. The district then conveyed the invitation to their members.
To bypass the opportunity — actually, the responsibility — to engage students in study of the history of the Olympics (see CBC story about controversial Holocaust Museum exhibit), the Munich hostage taking, today’s coverage of the long-term impact on Lillehammer…and then of course ethics in professional sport, corporate influence and interest in the games, doping and the allocation of public resources.
Whew...are you sure you're named after the god of wine and intoxication? Remind me to skip the Vision Christmas party. In a follow-up comment, she says:
A correction to my earlier post - the information regarding the workshop was conveyed by VESTA to their members (not by the school district).
It would be helpful for folks and columnist to take a deep breath and note this is a workshop being offered to teachers. No one has declared they will be teaching this material - it is an opportunity for teachers to review it.
So VESTA really is just trying to inform its members and this has nothing to do with kids. It'll just spice up the arguments in the staff room, right?
The depressing reality for our teachers is that they have no choice, regardless of their personal politics, but to get bombarded by their unions with this kind of stuff every day. Having your school trustees elected with the financial support of that same union (the COPE/Vision slate received over $55,000 in donations last year alone from VESTA) means the interests of teachers are certainly well served.
As for the kids and parents, that's another matter altogether. Judging by the comments at The Province, the public is none too happy on this one. Someone should be asking Mayor Robertson if he supports these union radicals, and if not, then Vision Vancouver and COPE should be giving back the fifty-five grand.
UPDATE: Olympic Resistance updates the flyer to remove barbed wire. Teach2010.org website (another typo: Civil Liberities) links Nazism to the Games as part of teacher's resources, and provides yet another Dora the Explorer flyer.