Sunday, February 8, 2009

Victor on the Hypocrisy of the BCTF

In its ideological war with Gordon Campbell, the BC Teachers'
Federation enters a politically incorrect killing field with its
campaign against standard testing. One of the Fed's arguments is that
standardized testing is an elitist assault on ESL (English as a Second
Language) students. In other words, white kids can handle it but our
brown, yellow, black, red whatever kids can't.

Oh really?

Mark the following on your calendar for June. When the BC scholarships
are announced for the brightest kids in BC, 90 per cent of those
smiling photos of winners in your local paper will be Asian kids. Yep.
The same ones who are traumatized by testing.

The same nonsense is at play in the Fed's argument about testing being
discriminatory to kids in the lower economic rungs of BC society.
Listen up, oh fatass teachers, The most miserable enclaves of urban
poverty in BC before World War 2 were our Chinatowns. Kids lived in
fetid rooms above their parents tiny grocery stores and laundries.They
helped out after doing their homework and they too scored at the top
of their classes. These same poor kids became captains of industry and
chancellors of universities . They were kindred spirits with the
Jewish kids in Hell's Kitchen,New York, who, 80 years ago helped their
Yiddish speaking father sell apples on a push cart and went on to
create wealth and opportunity for millions of Americans.

So, Fatbutters, don't hang your terror of personal accountability on
the backs of kids who may stumble in English or look different. Don't
insult them by making them foot soldiers in your war of lethargy. They
will go on to thrive in competitive careers while you cower in
protected mediocrity.

My Sicilian grandfather(were he here), my Chinese wife and I consider
you to be a sad joke.


Anonymous said...

I called the BCTF on Friday to find out their position on teachers actively speaking against the FSA test in their classroom -- this is what my son's teacher is doing. Unfortunately, this is something I have encountered previously -- my son's grade 4 teacher talked up the union position just prior to their strike three years ago. Anyway, I was initially passed to three different people, none of whom could speak to my question -- the last person I spoke with took my name and number and said she would have somebody call me. About 30 minutes later Geoff Peters in the BCTF Communications and Campaigns Division called me back and after several attempts to get a straight answer to my question "what is the BCTF's position on teachers actively speaking against the FSAs in their classrooms?", it was clear he was not prepared to answer my question. He repeatedly tried to redirect the conversation and when that didn't work, he would say only that teachers are free to present a "balanced" point of view in the classroom on any political issue. He framed it as though it was a learning opportunity -- i.e., the children would benefit from any political discussion. I'm pretty sure they are not allowed to bring their union politics into the classroom, but I found it very telling the way in which Mr. Peters handled my call. He sounded like a salesman (and not a very good one) trying to convince me of his point of view. While I would not have thought it possible, I have even less respect for this institution that I had before my 'phone interaction.

I will speak to our Principal directly regarding this, as I understand from our PAC that I am not the only parent that has concerns around this issue. Our PAC had to request a limit to the posting of political material in the school during the last election and they are preparing this week to do the same in advance of our next election.
There is discussion item on the agenda for the next meeting that is aimed at conduct during the upcoming Provincial election on May 12th -- trying to get ground rules down before the campaign starts to heat up. It came about as a result of COPE/Vision posters appearing in the school halls during the civic campaign last November.

Ironically, BCTF President, Irene Lanzinger, has been expressing in the media that the issue of the FSA tests will not be brought into the classroom. Ha!

To say I am fed up with the BCTF and the teachers blindly following the party line, is a gross understatement.


Pelalusa said...

Excellent editorial by Victor. I'd like to add that IMHO the BCTF is one of the most corrupt organizations in this province. They're technically democrat in theory but not really in practice.

Every teacher I know - and I know many - detests them to the extreme. But none can get out of pay the monthly extortion .... errrr, I mean "union dues".

Anonymous said...

Hey Pel please explain 'corrupt' comment. For corrupt try the Liberal party in Victoria. Now there's a corrupt group if ever there is one. As far as the FSA test is concerned - no problem. Let the kids take it and use the results properly. It is the use of the results that is 'corrupt'. The Fraser Institute and the Vancouver Sun do have a bias, the former shilling for private schools and the latter having an editor that worked for the FI.