EDITORIAL: Caught in the middle

The public schools employer wants the B.C. Labour Relations Board to order teachers to write fall report cards, despite their job action.

The public schools employer wants the B.C. Labour Relations Board to order teachers to write fall report cards, despite their job action, and fine them as much as 15 per cent if they refuse.

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association considers reports cards essential, as does the education minister.

The education ministry previously advised schools that report cards must be issued as usual, even if they contain little information, because three written reports are required by law.

If teachers refuse to prepare them, school administrators will have to do so, although that could prove difficult if  teachers are also refusing to communicate with them or attend staff meetings as part of their “teach only” action.

So they could contain nothing more than attendance records.

The teachers’ contract expired in June. Their  union, the BCTF, has suggested there won’t be progress in contract talks until the government lifts its net-zero mandate, allowing a pay increase that would bring B.C. salaries into line with those in Alberta and Ontario.

Once again, students and parents are caught in the middle, with report cards being used as a bargaining chip.

The employer claims that first reports in November provide early indications of how a student is doing and identifies those in need of extra help. And parents, as well as students, want to know what is going on, confirmation at least.

But report cards are just pieces of paper.

The information recorded on them is no doubt important, even vital to those hoping to pursue post-secondary education.

And teachers are still recording that information, and will readily provide it to parents and students electronically, even over the phone.

All you have to do is ask.

– Black Press

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