Saturday, 12 June 2010

Here at Linganore High School we Teach our Students... (well, what?)

Yesterday, I contacted Deborah B. Carter, the English teacher involved in the Latin lessons utilising ancient coins supplied by the dealers involved in the Ancient Coins for Education scheme. I thought it was only courtesy to send her a link to where her school's involvement in the scheme (and one of her students) were mentioned in this blog. I took the opportunity to attach some links to a few of the other posts where what is behind ACE and the coin trade are discussed (including Nathan's Treasure Hunting 101 in US Classrooms article). I was interested to learn what the reaction would be, having discovered that the school board which employs her prides itself on its standards of ethics and has regulations about the distribution of material promoting business interests from outside bodies in the school.*

I am assuming that the teachers involving the kids in their care in this scheme are entering it without full awareness of where the coins used are likely to have come from and how they reached the "nice gentlemen" who provided the freebies to make lessons more interesting. I am assuming that before they agreed to participate, being no doubt busy people, they may not have looked into the issues surrounding the use of this material in their lessons. I am assuming the AIA and state archaeological bodies and museums services (for example) have not done any substantial outreach with teachers indicating any equally attractive but non-damaging alternatives. It seems therefore that it is up to others to bring to their attention what they may not have been able to find out for themselves about the relationship between this scheme and the less salubrious side of the US ancient coin trade.

As a parent, I expect the teachers with whom my kids spend time learning to help instil in them somewhat different standards and values than we see represented in the ancient artefact business. I would have expected a teacher who had involved my kids in such a programme on learning the connections of this trade to which it is clearly an adjunct to react somewhat differently from the defiant one-line reply I had from Ms Carter which basically could have been from the pen of any of the coiney naysayers ("avoid any such discussion of ethical issues like the very plague" ACE says).

In reply to my expression of my concerns, Frederick County Public Schools teacher Deborah Carter suggested that only when I personally had persuaded "England" (sic) to return what she called "the Elgin marbles" (lower case 'm') to "Athens" could I contact her again about the use of freshly dug up 'uncleaned' artefacts from the US no-questions-asked trade in her language teaching. (Likening her Frederick County classroom to the British Museum seems overstretching the mark.)

Nemo surdior est quam is qui non audiet, I wonder if that applies to all US teachers collaborating with coin dealers in this scheme promoting the interests of the no-questions-asked trade in ancient artefacts?

* "Unless otherwise part of the educational goals of school programs, the staff and students of the schools will not be used for advertising or promoting the interests of any commercial, political, or other non-school agency, advocacy group, individual, or organization". Oh really? Then supporting the looting of ancient coins in the Balkans etc by criminal groups and the distribution of the products through shady dealings in the secretive no-questions-asked networks of traders must be part of Frederick County Public Schools' educational goals then. Bringing them up to be honest upright environmentally concerned US citizens I see. I am glad I don't send my kids to school there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah well, we should have guessed I suppose. They weren't going to target the sharpest knives in the educational drawer were they?

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