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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Special Issue, September 2003

Clark attacks teachers

by Garth Holmes

Christy Clark, minister against education, continues to ensure turmoil in the school system by saying one thing, then doing another.

The College of Teachers make over is a perfect example. The BCCT was the body that we teachers used to self-regulate our profession. Teachers were the majority of the college council, the same as doctors are the council majority on the College of Physicians and Surgeons, lawyers the majority on the council of the Law Society, and so on. Clark has changed the council representation to 12 political appointees and only 8 elected teachers.

Clark states, "Teaching is a profession..." Her action was to remove the self-regulation that sets professions apart from other vocations.

Clark states the college was too politicized. Her action was to politically appoint the first 20 council members. This is supposed to be non-political?

Clark states, "I am a fan of competency standards for teachers because I think teachers deserve to have the same kind of framework that doctors have, for instance." Her action was to ignore the fact that doctors do not have a specific set of competency standards. The assumption is that a doctor is competent because of their training. Their college investigates competency only when specific complaints are made. She changed the College of Teachers so that it now no longer has "the same kind of framework that doctors have."

Clark states the new college "would be more open to alternate certification of specialists such as trades teachers." Her action was to ignore her own concerns about standards of competency. There is a world of difference between being an excellent mechanic, welder, or chef and being able to teach that knowledge in a class of 30, 13-year-olds, all in close contact with dangerous tools.

Clark states that now parents can bring complaints about teachers directly to the college. Her action ignores the fact that parents could always bring complaints about teachers directly to the college.

Clark did make one correct statement: "Every teacher I know considers themselves to be a professional... and I don’t think they’ll give up that membership without a fight." She’s right.

Garth Holmes, a teacher in Williams Lake, was a BCTF-endorsed candidate for the BCCT this spring when the government cancelled the counting of the ballots.

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