Heat on teachers in report card dispute

The bargaining agent for B.C. school districts is expected to seek an order forcing teachers to provide report cards.

Education Minister George Abbott

Education Minister George Abbott

VICTORIA – Two months into a work-to-rule campaign by B.C.’s public school teachers, the bargaining agent for school districts is seeking an order forcing teachers to provide report cards.

Education Minister George Abbott declined to comment on reports that the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association wants to have the option of cutting teacher pay by up to 20 per cent if they don’t produce report cards and perform other duties. But he agrees that reporting on student progress should be an essential service.

“Report cards and reporting generally are hugely important to us,” Abbott said Wednesday. “It is not acceptable to me, nor to the ministry of education, to have children and parents in British Columbia not understanding how they are progressing.”

The ministry has directed principals and vice principals to send out report cards, but Abbott acknowledged that without teacher input, they may contain little more than an attendance report.

The employers’ association was expected to apply to the B.C. Labour Relations Board Wednesday for a declaration on report cards and the option of reduced pay for reduced work. Teachers are also refusing playground supervision and most routine contact with administration, with little progress on talks for a new contract.

The last contract with B.C.’s 41,000 public school teachers expired in June. In addition to wage and benefit increases, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation wants restoration of class size and special needs support rules, after a court ruling gave the government a year to consult with teachers on appropriate levels.

Abbott also presented legislation Wednesday to dissolve the B.C. College of Teachers, reducing the BCTF’s power to protect and reinstate teachers facing discipline for misconduct.

Last year former deputy minister Don Avison reported on the function of college discipline and found that the BCTF-dominated discipline committee “appeared to minimize the severity” of offences. BCTF president Susan Lambert has disputed his findings.

Avison highlighted two cases where teachers had their certification restored, one after being convicted of sexual assaults on students and another after serving six years in prison for trafficking cocaine.

The legislation creates a new B.C. Teachers’ Council with a commissioner to oversee complaints. Discipline panels would no longer have a majority of BCTF appointees.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria raises record-breaking $350,000 for Salvation Army

The charity says it’s seen an increase in need since COVID-19 hit

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

The intersection of Highway 14 and Grant Road was closed after Tuesday night’s windstorm. (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke makes progress on storm cleanup

Crews clear tons of debris from fallen trees to rocks

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open to Jan. 15

Forest ecologist Andy MacKinnon is the guest speaker at the Jan. 27 meeting of the Sooke Garden Club. (Contributed)
SOOKE GARDEN CLUB: Fabulous plants and their fungal friends

Fungi expert Andy MacKinnon is the guest speaker at the next Sooke Garden Club meeting

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring has expressed his frustration with harassment of people who have made racist comments online about Cowichan Tribes in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak in the First Nation. (Citizen file)
Island mayor calls for de-escalation as social media gets uglier in racism fight

“Racism is wrong. But so is this kind of reaction”:

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Most Read