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The provincial government has proposed changes to what takes place when public school teachers take professional development days.
Bill 11, the Education Statutes Amendment Act, is proposed in a way to help reduce overhead costs, establish a modern framework for professional development, and place a stronger focus on accountability for students.
Proposed amendments to the School Act, the Independent School Act, and the Teachers Act are focused on four objectives:
“British Columbians expect our K-12 system to be run efficiently, that teachers and students have the supports they need, and that everyone is focussed on what matters most - student learning,” said Education Minister Peter Fassbender. “That’s what these amendments are all about.”
But the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) disagrees with the Bill, saying the government blindsided them by not alerting teachers about the changes. BCTF president Jim Iker said Bill 11 “is a distraction” and that the government should have announced a reversal in planned BC education cuts instead.
“If Peter Fassbender is committed to improving BC education, the place to start is reversing this year's cuts and properly fund schools,” said Iker. “If the BC government is serious about supporting Pro D, they need to fund in-service initiatives and respect teacher autonomy.”
The province says there are no detailed requirements for certified teachers to maintain during these professional development days.
“The proposed amendments to the Teachers Act will provide the minister with the authority to establish a more robust framework,” added Fassbender. “Working with the profession, the goal is to enhance public confidence that certified teachers have access to, and are regularly participating in, high-quality professional development aimed at improving student achievement.”
Amendments to the School Act will remove inflexible language and processes and replace them with more targeted, co-constructed approaches to enhance the system-wide focus on student learning.