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

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

The area of the East Kootenay under a special avalanche warning. Submitted
Avalanche Canada issues special warning for southern Rockies

Northern Rockies also under special avalanche warning

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
MY COVID STORY: From doctor to patient

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read