VANCOUVER–As teachers and other
educators across BC began receiving materials by mail regarding the upcoming BC
Teachers’ Council elections, they were frustrated to discover that the actual
ballots were not included in the mail-out.
“It’s very disappointing that the Teacher Regulation Branch made
such a fundamental mistake, one that will create confusion and wastes thousands
of dollars in mailing costs,” BCTF President Jim Iker said today.
The BC Teachers’ Council is part of the Teacher Regulation Branch
and oversees the standards for teacher education, certification, and conduct.
Most positions on the Council are appointed, but five are elected by all
teaching certificate holders, including teachers in the public and private
systems, principals, and superintendents. This year, elections are being held
in the Vancouver Island Zone, the Coastal Vancouver Zone, and the Fraser Zone.
Candidates in the Interior and Northern zones were acclaimed.
“The election timeline for the BC Teachers’ Council is actually
very tight with spring break approaching and a hard deadline to mail ballots
back in,” said Iker. “Our concern is that this bungled process could end up
creating confusion and ultimately reducing participation. The Teacher
Regulation Branch should extend the voting deadline to ensure the process is
fair for all certificate holders, no matter where they live.”
Iker has expressed his concerns to Education Minister Peter
Fassbender directly, asking him to extend the voting deadline. The BCTF hopes
the minister will follow through on that request.
“It’s unfortunate that the Teacher Regulation Branch, a government
body, has wasted thousands of dollars in this mix-up that could have been spent
on hundreds of needed textbooks or basic supplies for students across the
province. At a time when the provincial government is forcing school districts
to cut $54 million over the next two years, this kind of waste is
Iker encouraged concerned BC teachers to contact the Teacher
Regulation Branch office at 604-660-6060 or 1-800-555-3684.