Voice of teachers’ diminished on new Teachers’ Council
Bill 12, the Teachers Act, repeals the former Teaching Profession Act and dissolves the BC College of Teachers. It will be replaced with a new 15-member council with a more focused mandate including setting standards for certification of teachers, approval of teacher education programs at universities, and adjudication of disciplinary matters.
“This new clarity on the mandate of the council is welcomed by the BCTF, although its structures do not address all of the concerns we raised in meetings with Education Minister George Abbott… It is regrettable that the voice of teachers will be diminished on the new council,” said BC Teachers’ Federation President Susan Lambert.
The composition of the new council will be:
- three teachers nominated by the BCTF
- five teachers elected by teachers on a regional basis
- seven members based on nominations from other education partner groups
- one non-voting council member to report to the minister.
A separate nine-member Disciplinary and Professional Conduct Board will be appointed from council members, to hear complaints of a serious nature. In that body, no more than one teacher will be allowed on any three-member panel. This limitation was prompted by a fact-finder’s report that cited cases of individuals with criminal records being allowed to begin teaching or continue working in the classroom. “The allegation by some that the Federation used its influence on the college to protect unethical teachers is completely unfounded,” Lambert said.
The legislation also contains the following provisions:
- A commissioner will be appointed who will conduct a preliminary review of any reports or complaints and determine what further action is required.
- Certification of teachers will now be handled by the Ministry of Education.
- The legislation states that “An oral hearing of a panel must be open to the public,” unless the panel decides otherwise.
- The fee for the new council will be $80, compared to current fee of $120.