Opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent any other organization or affiliation I may have.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Are Teacher's and Report Cards an Essential Service?

CBC News Reported:Saskatchewan essential services law struck down.

A Saskatchewan law limiting the ability of public sector workers to go on strike has been ruled unconstitutional by a Queen's Bench judge, but the provincial government says it is still committed to having essential services legislation

The essential services is an interesting concept. If teacher's are an "essential service" why are we not paid and respected as other "essential services"?

My first thought is, how are teacher's an essential sercvice?

To me an essential service is life or death and to my knowledge no one has died from not going to school for a few days. Furthermore, in the current stage of Job Action, teacher's in BC are still teaching. The only major change is no official report cards, however, teacher's are reporting in various other methods, most of which are far more comprehensive and efficient than the official report cards.

As a parent, I am updated on my daughter's progress through notes in her daily agenda book and in-person meetings when neccessary with the teacher.

As a teacher on call, I have been in a number of schools and grade levels and seen the various methods teachers are reporting on their students progress to parents.

Classroom newsletters, notes in planners, emails home, phone calls home, student self-evaluations with teacher remarks, and so on.

In fact, I have loved seeing the various methods of assessment and communication teacher's are using instead of report cards and have to say, I think they are far more comprehensive and informative.

In December, The Coquitlam NOW featured two of my friends and colleagues, Sandra Daviss (Grade 4/5) and Stephanie Duncan (high school)discussing assessment & reporting methods used in their classes.

So are report cards really neccessary as long as the message is getting home?

I think in highschool formal reporting of actual grades is important at the end of term as it is needed to get into post-secondary institutes, however, the various methods of reporting I have seen teacher's use have been far more effective than official report cards.

Why couldn't (even in high school) teacher's continue to report in these various methods. Year-End "grades" may be neccessary for reasons mentioned above, but otherwise what is the significance of a letter grade or a number?

Is a report card essential?

Are teacher's an essential service?

David Komljenovic, BCTF Member-at-large, wrote on facebook:
"Saskatchewan ruled a month ago that the essential services law in that provice was unconstitutional because it interfered in the collective bargaining process to the extent that public sector employees did not have any significant pressure to apply to the table.

The situation with teachers in BC is not very different. After the phase 1 in 2001, teachers were legislated back after the Labour Relations Board ruled that a one day strike on January 28th was legal. In 2005, the plan was to start phase 1 and, should an agreement not be concluded, rotating strikes would start in the middle of October. The government intervened and prevented a strike from occurring. This year (2011/12), teachers were engaged in phase 1 since September. If there is a successful vote on a legal strike, there would be a good argument that interference by the government is significant enough that essential services is unconstitutional for teachers in BC.

A "yes" vote on escalating actions would provide a recourse through the courts as government interference before a strike can be enacted would be consistent with what the Saskatchewan courts found to be unconstitutional."

On Tuesday & Wednesday Teacher's will vote if they are in favour of escalating actions should the government legislate us back to work....

I don't think the government should legislate us back, especially now....

1. Both parties have agreed to mediation
2. What would they legislate us back to? Writing report cards? We ARE teaching we ARE working!
3. If mediation doesn't help, there are still other actions that could be taken.
4. Collective Bargaining is the way to go, BCTF wanted local bargaining on some issues from day one, and they were turned down... if local issues had been taken to the local table from the start, at least SOME issues could be dealt with already locally. Both parties need to bargain in good faith, and sadly one party is clearly not!

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