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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Special Issue, September 2003

College council seeks more power

by Lynne Sinclair

The college council voted to seek legislative amendments to heighten their power and control over the teaching profession:

  1. Placing the power to establish qualifications, standards of competence, and other professional standards in the hands of the Qualifications Committee, not the college council. This means that lay people (parents and others appointed by the government) would be deciding our professional standards.

  2. Eliminating the distinction between college membership and teacher certification. Our long-standing professional credential will be blurred, even destroyed, by membership in the college being equated with teacher certification. The college wants to control teachers in every aspect of their profession and to threaten even their credentials if they fail to comply with college directives. The supporting statement of this proposed amendment refers repeatedly to the "suitability" of teachers. The college wants the power not only to decide who is qualified to be a teacher, but also to decide who is "suitable" to become or continue to be a teacher. All holders of teacher certificates, whether or not teaching in the K–12 system, would be required to maintain membership in the college or lose their certificate. This amendment disregards the authority of universities to issue degrees in education and attempts to "second guess" years of teacher study and graduation.

  3. Allowing college disciplinary proceedings to occur simultaneously with a grievance proceeding. This amendment would put teachers in an untenable situation wherein they would be forced to defend themselves in more than one proceeding at a time. Expensive, stressful, and unnecessary college hearings will occur before the outcome of a grievance is known.

The college cites teachers accused of sexual misconduct as the reason to proceed, yet in these situations, school boards exercise their statutory authority to suspend them from teaching, and therefore no threat is posed to students until the guilt or innocence of a teacher can be investigated.

Lynne Sinclair is director of the BCTF’s Field Services Division.

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