The poster features wildlife — a soaring eagle, a bear, seals and killer whales — enjoying a pristine ocean scene, but the bottom-right corner shows a wide-eyed fish lying dead amid black oily sludge along with the faint image of a skull and crossbones. The headline for the poster, published on the federation’s website as part of its “social justice” resources for teachers, is this: “What we stand to lose with pipelines and oil tankers.”
As the controversy percolated on Twitter, Canada’s Natural Resources minister, Joe Oliver, told reporters Wednesday he is concerned that B.C. youth are being subjected to just one side of a critical public issue.
“My understanding is [the education resource is] somewhat unbalanced and I think that’s regrettable,” he said.
Vancouver School Board trustee Ken Denicke likened the poster, which comes amid debate over the Northern Gateway Pipeline, to propaganda; he called it “very much one-sided” and deemed it “totally inappropriate to present to young kids.”
The teachers’ union sought to clarify the poster is not part of a lesson plan — as was initially reported and discussed on Twitter — but the teachers’ federation’s website appears murkier on that question: The site has a page dedicated to “‘What We Stand to Lose’ poster resources,’” and among them is a downloadable document containing links to a dozen lesson plans that teachers can choose to use in their classrooms. That document, called “‘What We Stand to Lose’ Poster Lesson Plans,’” lists plans that hinge on the importance of protecting ocean ecosystems, the impacts of a pipeline, information about the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill and an exercise described as a “short lesson” that “illustrates the effects of mixing oil, water and bird feathers.”
“We have to start thinking about the environment, and that means that you have to start thinking about the consequences,” federation president Susan Lambert said Wednesday, adding that the resources are optional, promote critical thinking and can be paired with any number of other lesson plans at a teacher’s behest.
“There’s a probability of an oil spill if you increase tanker traffic. That’s a question that these students, and very shortly as adults, will be grappling with. It’s our responsibility in schools to give them the tools they need to grapple with that issue.”
She said the teaching resources include a link to the official Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline website, but that link is not listed in the “‘What We Stand to Lose’ Poster Lesson Plans” and is instead found in an entirely separate document called “Quick Facts” — a one-page explainer that highlights Enbridges “60 spills a year” and says “a spill could cause irreversible harm to the livelihoods of many coastal and aboriginal communities and the area’s unique marine ecosystems.”
Jordan Bateman, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s B.C. director, took to Twitter to square off against the teachers’ union, accusing it of promoting anti-pipeline materials without similarly promoting pro-pipeline materials.
“A web link isn’t balance,” Mr. Bateman tweeted in response to a union tweet pointing to the Enbridge link.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Bateman said “pipeline education is not a curriculum target” set by the province’s education ministry, and said the federation is “flexing its muscles in individual classrooms, trying to get its point of view across.”
The federation did not craft the actual lessons plans, but the union’s Environmental Justice Action Group — comprised of teachers — determined which plans would be listed as part of its social justice resources. It also decided to promote the poster on its website and on the federation’s Facebook page.
“I ordered one for my classroom and it was delivered in 2 days,” Sue Brown, who according to her Facebook page is a Greater Victoria School District teacher, commented beneath the image of the poster. “The kids like looking at it.”
Annie Kidder, executive director of Ontario’s People for Education, said if teachers portray only one side of a debate in the classroom, they risk leaving students with the impression that a different perspective is erroneous.
“I don’t think it’s wrong for teachers to tell kids what their views are, but the danger comes when those views are presented as fact,” she said.
Once again, this leftist-charged union rears its ugly head in BC politics, and uses its students to showcase their support for a political party (in this case, the NDP who is opposed to the pipeline). Sadly, some teachers are using only this as curriculum as opposed to bringing in both sides of the pipeline debate.
I don't like the idea of having a pipeline run by a company known for its shaky record, but I am absolutely disgusted by the BCTF and its constant vile attempts to spread its propaganda, all while using schoolchildren to spread its message and lying through their teeth (saying "it's all for the children")
Edited by Common sense, 03 October 2012 - 08:58 PM.