Teachers withdrawal help with grad, sports teams starting this week

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
April 23rd, 2012

Teacher involvement in graduation plans, spring concerts and team sports will come to an end this week.

Teachers took a province-wide vote late last week about the new B.C. Teachers’s Federation’s (BCTF) nine point resistance strategy for Bill 22. The province’s 41,000 teachers voted 73 per cent in favour of the yet-to-be revealed strategy and officially began their plan of action Monday, April 23.

The first thing on the agenda is the elimination of extracurricular activities. Earlier this month teachers could choose to stop volunteering for extracurricular activities, now they have all been asked to do so by the BCTF to show the government their displeasure for Bill 22, the Education Improvement Act, and the current negotiation strategies, which includes the appointment of a mediator.

“All teachers are expected to (end extracurricular involvement) as of now,” said Boundary District Teachers’s Association president Norm Sabourin after spending a weekend with other BCTF presidents to decide what to do next.

“Teachers have been knee-capped severely here … Bill 22 muzzles teachers with fear, so what can teachers do? … We’re not legally allowed to strike, so this is all we can do and it is the last thing we want to do. We’re desperate and this is our last resort.”

Sabourin said there is nothing controversial in their plan, which remains in secret, and, so far, no talk of a strike vote.

“Most teachers just want to survive the school year,” said Sabourin.

“As difficult as (ending their extracurricular activities) will be, we’re hoping to keep the conversation alive (about Bill 22) and I hope parents realize we are doing this out of desperation.”

Graduation ceremonies will be affected, said Sabourin.

“Parents and administration will have to step up. Some teachers’s jobs will allow for (grad planning) because it is part of their job duties … We are recommending that teachers don’t volunteer their time to work on grad. Not organizing grad will be a painful one for many teachers.”

Last week the Labour Relations Board ruled that teachers are to provide retroactive report cards to their employer by Friday, April 27.

The report cards will be minimal — letter grades for the secondary students and achievement levels for the elementary students.

School District 51 superintendent Michael Strukoff is meeting with district school principals Monday, April 23. Watch the Boundary Sentinel for more details on when report cards will be issued and how graduation plans will be impacted by teachers withdrawal of extracurricular volunteer work.

Teachers have been without a contract since June 2011. This week they should be returning to the table with a mediator to continue negotiations with the government. If an agreement has not been reached by June 30, the mediator will make a non-binding recommendation to government.

Categories: EducationIssues