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.

Just Posted

Darlene Bennett, right, speaking about her murdered husband Paul at a press conference in 2018. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Widow of Surrey murder victim seeking referendum vote on policing transition

Darlene Bennett files application with Elections BC seeking binding referendum vote

Canada’s Janet Leung steals second base during playoff action at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier tournament in South Surrey on August 31, 2019. Leung and her teammates have not been back to Softball City since, as the 2020 and now ‘21 Canada Cup tournaments have been cancelled. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck photo)
Canada Cup softball event cancelled for second straight year

Travel restrictions, health and safety concerns cited as reasons for cancellation

A Grade 8 student at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Teachers demand ‘urgent action’ as parts of Surrey see 20% positivity rate

26 schools in the hardest-hit region of the city had 105 exposure notices April 23-29

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Boats in the Fraser River launched from Barrowtown and Ft. Langley on May 12 to search for the missing fisherman. (Steve Simpson)
Boats search the Fraser River for missing Abbotsford fisherman

Anyone with ‘a boat, time, or a drone’ to help bring Damian Dutrisac home was asked to help

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

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

A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Fraser Health still unsure if 333 cases of COVID among students, teachers were acquired in school

88 cases of 267 cases the health authority considers to be school-acquired lead to spread outside of school

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Most Read