Wednesday April 25, 2012

Teachers News

Fear and Loathing in SD 33

Chilliwack teacher feels "lied" to over agreement before LRB ruling

Submitted by Chilliwack teacher/Voice file photo


Fearing reprisal and punishments like job loss by being labeled "unsuitable" or "troublemaker", some teachers are forced underground to air their opinions. Under those circumstances, teachers can be fired with as little as two weeks notice. The following is from one of our readers, a teacher, who and wants to remain anonymous. It's important for our readers to get an understanding of the issue from as many perspectives as possible. The Voice inquired with this teacher regarding the report card flap and here's their response;


n September, the LRB originally agreed that, as part of our job action, report cards were not an essential part of our job and we did not have to do them as long as we communicated with parents on their child's progress.


All the teachers in my elementary school called each parent and also many had parents come in for informal discussions. I felt I had more time to connect with parents without having to spend endless hours producing a report card!

Then in March, Bill 22 was passed and job action ended. Then started the debate between teachers' unions and Ministry of Education about whether or not Term 2 report cards had to be issued as the time for elementary Term 2 reports had passed while we were still in job action.

Then the LRB was asked by the government to overturn the previous ruling about report cards and to make it mandatory for us to produce term 2 report cards.

On the Friday, April 20th, our district said that we only had to send a simple checklist of how students were doing and that no matter what the LRB decided, that was what they expected from teachers.

On the Monday, LRB ruled that we had to produce report cards.

The school district reneged on their promise and told teachers that we had to produce the full report card. This is a LOT more work!

Also, at this point, many teachers in our school had already sent home report cards according to what the school district had decided upon before the LRB ruling.

So, the main issue is that the school district reneged on their decision to have us produce a simpler, "short-form" type report. That is what is getting teachers up in arms!

I remember when Liz McKenzie, our CTA vice-president, came to our school, someone asked, "What if the district changes their minds?". She replied that they couldn't, as they had written down everything the district said at the meeting. And now this - they changed their minds anyways. How can they totally disregard a promise? (unless, they are taking lessons from our government on how to rip up contracts??).

Sorry I don't want my name to go on record. I know I'm a coward but I need my job (and I love my job, don't get me wrong, I just get angry when I am lied to over and over).

Like I mentioned before, the Chilliwack Teacher's Association will have more info, as would Michael Audet at the School District Office.

 Here is the abridged version of events:

  • The LRB had previously ruled that teachers did not have to do report cards during job action. (Job action started in September 2011)

  • Job action ended March 16th and since elementary reports for Term 2 were due before that date, technically elementary teachers did not have to do report cards.

  • The Ministry of Education did not like that so they asked the LRB to re-visit that ruling and change the ruling to enforce that report cards would be done.

  • While waiting for the ruling, the Chilliwack School District made a deal with teachers and the CTA (Chilliwack Teachers Assoc) about sending home a shortened version of report cards for term 2. The teachers agreed. (April 16th)

  • The School District said that even if the LRB ruled that report cards had to be sent home, they would still stick to the agreed upon conditions of these report cards.

  • The LRB ruled that report cards had to be sent out on Friday afternoon (April 20th)

  • Monday morning (April 23rd), Superintendent Michael Audet issued a directive that the district was reneging on their original agreement with teachers and now full report cards were expected for Terms 1 and 2.

Some teachers have already sent home the shortened version of report cards as per school district's original agreement with teachers.

The saga continues..

If you are interested in more details, I suggest talking to Kathryn Midzain, president of the Chilliwack Teacher's Assoc. or to Michael Audent, SD33 Superintendent.