I’m exhausted and there is so much other stuff going on. Why should I care about this?
We understand the pressure teachers are under now. We did not choose this fight, the minister did, knowing full well that teachers are feeling overwhelmed during the pandemic. Unfortunately, if we lose this battle it would have an irreversible impact on the culture of public education in our province.
If the ATA were to lose that disciplinary role, who would take on this function?
The minister has not been clear about what her plans are. In other provinces, this is done by the government, and in a couple of places, an independent college or regulatory body has been set up to perform this role.
Will my ATA fees change?
The exact impact is uncertain. Currently, the ATA incurs expenses to conduct investigations and to administer the discipline process, but we do not defend teachers in unprofessional conduct cases. In a revised system, the ATA will need to begin doing that, which will be costly. Teachers may also be required to pay fees for a regulatory college on top of their ATA dues.
Can we fight this in court?
It is unlikely that this is something that could be challenged in court, but it depends on how the legislation is structured. Currently the ATA is governed by an act of the legislature and the government is able to make changes. Provincial governments have the legal authority to govern professions.
What can I do about this?
The first, most important thing is to help your colleagues understand why this matters. Share information and draw their attention to this issue. After that, we need to have passionate and persistent contact with MLAs. The ATA will be launching tools to help with this.
Where can I get more information?
Look for the One Profession United brochure, which should be available from your ATA school representative. You can also find more at www.teachers.ab.ca, by clicking on the One Profession United graphic. ❚