Thursday, October 15, 2009

Always be careful of the company you keep!

It’s always a challenge these school years, you worry about the social skills needed to cope, fearful that when the school day ends, when everyone heads off to those after school events they may end up hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Normally it’s the students you worry about, but of late maybe it’s the teachers we should be looking out for.

The Vancouver Elementary Teachers Association has joined the resistance, the resistance to the upcoming Olympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler.

Their association has affiliated itself with the Olympic Resistance Network, a Vancouver based group which has been outspoken critics of the games and have made some high profile attempts in the past (with more apparently planned for the future) at disrupting the entire Olympic process.

Their website offers up a resume of their past efforts on the resistance front, and offering up some of their more current items of discussion, including a Teaching night in late October where Vancouver teachers can accept “an open invitation for teaching professionals to review our 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.”
The night's sessions will offer a rather extensive list of possible workshop working titles to be introduced into the classroom, a change of curriculum that may cause a bit of concern with School Districts, School Boards and parents.

If Vancouver teachers want to get a head start on the study plan, then perhaps they can catch up with the ORN this weekend at the upcoming Seattle Anarchist Book fair, where they could learn more of the upcoming convergence call, the principles of opposition, and what is being organized for the convergence..

It’s understandable that some teachers may wish to express their concerns over a province that has found millions, if not billions for the two week festival in the winter, but can’t properly fund a school system for success.

But somehow, we have a feeling that their heartfelt messages will surely get lost in the cacophony of convergence being urged on by the ORN.

More importantly, a legitimate grievance could be forever damaged by association with a group which seems to accept anarchist principles as its guiding force, surely not the kind of folks that the majority of the province’s teachers might wish to be taking to the streets with.

There's much to be discussed about the Olympics and the impact that they will have on the province, we're just not sure that linking up with what could be perceived as a rather radical organization determined to be more disruptive than informative, is something that will reflect well on the teachers or their concerns.

Back in the schools, the kids are always being urged to watch out for each other, perhaps the same could be said for the Elementary Teacher's Association of Vancouver, their new best friends forever, may not be in their best interests in the long term.
Update October 19: The Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Assocciation clarified it's position on the Olympic Resistance Network educational seminar planned for later this month, putting some distance between the Association and the ORN and removing from its website a link to the organization and its event and offering up a statement on the situation (see The Vancouver Sun's Janet Steffenhagens report on it here).

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