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Incomplete report cards for Abbotsford students

Students in the Abbotsford school district will be among those receiving incomplete report cards this term, due to job action currently underway by the province's teachers.

Kevin Godden, district superintendent, issued a letter to parents this week, stating  that, under the School Act, formal report cards must be issued for each student.

But teachers are carrying out only their normal classroom work, and not preparing or distributing report cards. Instead, the information will be sent out by administrators and, without teacher input, will be incomplete. They will include only the child's division/homeroom, subjects, names of teachers and attendance, Godden said.

Students who attend classes taught by vice-principals or principals – not part of the job action – will include course marks. As well, marks for Grade 12 students will be provided.

Godden said teachers have continued to focus on instruction and assessment, and they will communicate with parents in informal meetings, phone calls and emails to discuss student progress.

Teachers across B.C. began the first phase of job action at the start of this school year while their union, the BC Teachers' Federation, is in contract negotiations with the B.C. Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA).

Meanwhile, the BCPSEA is seeking an order forcing teachers to provide report cards.

Education Minister George Abbott declined to comment on an application by association to cut teacher pay by up to 15 per cent if they don't produce report cards and perform other duties. But he agrees that reporting on student progress should be an essential service.

"Report cards and reporting generally are hugely important to us," Abbott said. "It is not acceptable to me, nor to the ministry of education, to have children and parents in British Columbia not understanding how they are progressing."

The employers' association applied to the B.C. Labour Relations Board Wednesday for a declaration on report cards and the option of reduced pay for reduced work. A decision could take two weeks.

– with files from Tom Fletcher

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