Teachers welcome ruling on report cards

  • Mon Dec 5th, 2011 1:00pm
  • News

By Alex Rinfret–The Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association is welcoming a decision from the Labour Relations Board that says teachers do not have to fill out report cards during their job action, and do not have to pay back a portion of their salaries. “It’s wonderful, it makes sense, end of story,” said teachers’ association president Evelyn von Almassy. “It’s as it should be.” The Labour Relations Board issued the decision last week, as a result of a request from the BC Public School Employers Association, the organization that is bargaining with the teachers. The BCPSEA had asked the board to force teachers to prepare and distribute report cards, and to require the union to pay school districts an amount equal to 15 percent of teachers’ salaries and benefits to reflect the work that teachers are not doing during the partial strike. The Labour Relations Board dismissed the request, saying the two groups had agreed over the summer that report cards, and several other duties, were non-essential services. The board also found that teachers are generally continuing to work their regular hours, even though they are not performing non-essential duties, and for this and other reasons it declined to order the 15 percent payback. Ms von Almassy said it would have been “ludicrous” had the board found otherwise and ordered the union to pay the 15 percent. “Teachers are working harder than ever,” she said. “You go into any school, they’re doing more, they have more time for teaching.” Duties like supervising students at recess, which teachers have not been doing since the limited strike began Sept. 6, should not be done by teachers in any case, Ms von Almassy said. In North Vancouver, she said, supervision is done by CUPE employees, and she would like to see that happen all over BC. Meanwhile, even though first term report cards for students were mostly blank this month, teachers have been communicating with parents about how students are doing, Ms von Almassy said. Teachers at Queen Charlotte Secondary held a well-attended “meet the teacher” event in Skidegate last week that gave parents the chance to talk about their students’ school work, she said. It went so well they are thinking about making it an annual event. The BC Teachers’ Federation and the BCPSEA have now held 59 bargaining sessions with little result, Ms von Almassy said. The government is saying that there is no extra money for education, yet it recently spent $550 million on a new retractable roof and renovations for the BC Place stadium, she said. That’s not right, she said, and teachers will continue to fight for a salary increase and control over how many students and special needs students are in their classrooms.