Sunday, December 12, 2010

Can something good come of the Avison report?

There is no question that the report by Don Avison on the BC College of Teachers is politicized. And this is no surprise. He is following a long and sorry history of the College as a battle ground between teachers and government, beginning with its incarnation in 1987.

But perhaps the report will at long last put the College out of business. No fewer than three newspaper editorials have proposed the elimination of the College. Maybe a rudderless government will agree and do the simple thing - eliminate the College and place teacher certification back with the Ministry of Education.

The College has undermined and frustrated teachers. While there is a legitimate need to ensure that teacher misconduct is addressed, the College creates a system of double jeopardy - teachers are subject first to discipline from their employer, the school District, and then to discipline from the College. This is unfair and has created a stressful and costly system.

Avison referred in his report to the situation of a teacher who moved from District to District despite his misconduct and behaviour which posed a danger to children. This is a real and legitimate concern. But a simple and effective mechanism to avoid this scenario is an employer database, where serious discipline by a School Board is registered and recorded. This would allow Districts to know if serious misconduct charges against a teacher existed before hiring. But it would avoid the costly and unfair practice of disciplining a teacher twice - once by the school District and a second time by the College.

I agree with Trustee Mike Lombardi who wrote on Janet Steffenhagen's blog: "I believe that the BCCT should be disbanded. It is a failed experiment. The Ministry of Education should once again assume responsibility for teacher certification/ decertification in. BC. In all jurisdictions in N. A. other than BC and Ontario, teacher certification/ de-certification, is the responsibility of provincial/ state education authority."

No comments:

Post a Comment