Update on the Task Force for Teaching Excellence recommendations
Question: Has the government accepted the recommendations of the Task Force for Teaching Excellence?
Answer: It is likely that the government will accept relatively uncontroversial recommendations from the Task Force for Teaching Excellence (for example, development of practice standards). However, I do not believe the government will accept recommendations that are hostile to the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
The Teacher Development and Practice Advisory Committee dealt with these recommendations in May and June and did not accept recommendations that were hostile to the Association (for example, term certification, removal of reinstatement from the Board of Reference, transfer to the government of conduct and competence functions).
The candidates for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta have not been climbing on the task force band wagon, either. Candidate Jim Prentice, in his education policy announcement at the end of June, said he had met with more than 1,000 parents on the campaign trail and not one raised concerns about the conduct and competence of teachers. Parents wanted to talk about school construction and crowded classrooms. Candidate Thomas Lukaszuk told ATA delegates at Summer Conference that he did not see the hostile task force recommendations gaining any traction and spoke about the need to work more closely with the ATA.
The Association presented an extensive submission to Education Minister Jeff Johnson in response to the task force report, proposing directions that would improve the system. Our proposals include amending the Teaching Profession Act to allow public release of hearing dates, release of teachers’ names and charges where a hearing has been ordered, and public posting of hearing decisions. We also proposed a continuing education requirement for all certificate holders, governed by the profession and administered by the Association. The current growth, supervision and evaluation policy should be expanded to include school and district leaders, and the growth plan needs to be clarified so it reflects the teacher’s professional learning needs. The new minister of education may choose to act on the task force recommendations, take Association advice to establish a different course or scrap the task force recommendations altogether. ❚
Questions for consideration in this column are welcome. Please address them to Gordon Thomas at Barnett House (firstname.lastname@example.org).