Teachers rejoice at consultation rules

Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers' Association president thrilled by consultation news

The regulations outlining the province’s Bill 22 legislation has teachers in the School District 27 celebrating in victory.

Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers’ Association president Joan Erb says the regulation’s elements for mandating teacher consultations are “amazing.”

“This is all very, very good. This is huge to us, absolutely.

“The fact we’re going to be consulted is a far cry from what Bill 22 originally had [spelled out] in it.”

The voice of teachers in dispute of that legislation has clearly been successful, Erb adds.

“It’s obvious from these amendments that what teachers throughout the province have been saying to government about Bill 22 … have been heard and been recognized.”

The regulation also sets out that consultation is required prior to laying out district plans for the Learning Improvement Fund, she explains.

Principals or vice-principals must consult with teaching staff, Erb notes, as well as provide them with reasonable opportunities for response.

“They’re sticking to their guns about the K-3 classes. But, the 30-student limit on Grades 4-12 classes may only be exceeded if the principal and superintendent agree, after consulting with the affected teacher.”

Erb says she’s also pleased that superintendents are additionally required to make reasonable efforts to reach agreements with local teacher union presidents.

“I’m very happy about every one of these amendments.”

She adds the regulations recognize the Ministry of Education has realized it had “maybe been a little hasty” in the language of its original legislation.

“I think it’s a real wise move on the province’s part and I think it’s an indication there were some real loopholes in Bill 22 that were just bad for kids and for teachers.”

Erb notes other recent good news for teachers in her local was hearing the B.C. School Trustees Association recently voted to eliminate the requirement for standard Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) testing, and it will implement random sampling.

“That’s something we’ve been fighting for forever, and now we’ve got this consultation [aspect] added to it.

“I’m just very happy.”