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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 2, October 2004

Teachers celebrate return of democratic college

Teachers are welcoming the return of a democratically elected council to govern the BC College of Teachers. Results of a mail-in ballot were announced September 15, 2004, and all 12 of the BCTF-endorsed candidates were either acclaimed or swept the elections in a record turnout. Teachers all over B.C. put their jobs on the line to uphold the principle of democratic professional self-governance. In May 2003, then-education minister Christy Clark changed the Teaching Profession Act, dismissed the democratically elected college councillors, and named political appointees to carry out her agenda. Clark’s move made ours the only professional group in B.C. without an elected majority on our professional organization. The Liberal government provoked a completely unnecessary dispute that created needless instability and damaged relationships in our schools. Because we were so united and determined to uphold our profession, we were successful, but not without a lot of effort and expense that should have gone into teaching and learning.

We launched a vigorous protest campaign, including a constitutional challenge of the legislation. Almost 90% voted to withhold professional dues, even though it meant risking suspension from the college and potential loss of jobs. Instead, teachers submitted their annual $90 fees into the BCTF Democratic College Fund.

The BCTF Executive Committee is recommending that the money in the BCTF Democratic College Fund be returned to individual members.

In November, members will vote on that question and on whether to pay the 2004–05 fee.

During their 15-month tenure, the appointed councillors made hundreds of sweeping changes to the college by-laws, some of which are deeply troubling to teachers. The college council must uphold the public interest in public education, but some of the changes clearly trampled on teachers’ professional and human rights. They’ve got to be re-examined. There now are 8 appointed and 12 elected members on the 20-member council. The first meeting of the democratic college will be October 1, 2004.

BC College of Teachers’ Council

BCTF-endorsed teacher members of the BC College of Teachers Council:

Zone 1 North Coast
Rena Neufeld, Nechako,
Acclaimed, one-year term

Zone 2 North Central
Matt Pearce, Prince George
Elected, two-year term

Zone 3 South Central
Dale Townsend, N.Okanagan-Shuswap
Acclaimed, one-year term

Zone 4 Kootenay
Floyd Smith, Kootenay Columbia
Elected, three-year term

Zone 5 Okanagan
John Grain, Central Okanagan
Acclaimed, three-year term

Zone 6 Upper Fraser Valley
Mike Trask, Mission
Acclaimed, three-year term

Zone 7 Lower Fraser Valley
Diane Gorton, Langley
Acclaimed, two-year term

Zone 8 Lower Mainland East
Pat Dyer, New Westminster
Acclaimed, one-year term

Zone 9 Lower Mainland South
Alice McQuade, Delta
Acclaimed, two-year term

Zone 10 Lower Mainland West
Jim Gill, Vancouver Secondary
Elected, one-year term

Zone 11 South Coast
Kit Krieger, West Vancouver
Elected, three-year term

Zone 12 Vancouver Island
Richard Walker, Courtenay
Elected, two-year term

Eight members have been appointed to the BC College of Teachers’ Council by the B.C. Liberal government:

  • Reggi Balabanov, immediate past president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.
  • Deborah DeRose, a principal, who is a co-chair of the UBC First Nations education council and an advisor to the University College of the Cariboo.
  • Timothy Dunford, a lawyer and former president of the Saanich District Parent Advisory Council.
  • Dr. Ron Goddard, dean of education at Okanagan University College, in Kelowna. Goddard was recommended by the deans of the faculties of education and has an open-ended appointment.
  • ;Peter Hobbs, a retired superintendent of schools for the Catholic Independent Schools on Vancouver Island.
  • Robert Lindsay, a principal and former president of the British Columbia Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.
  • Mary Jo O’Keefe, the chair of the Vernon School Board.
  • Judy Morgan, retired superintendent.

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