Bill 11 “Anti-Democratic” Argues BCTF
Prince George, B.C. – “Concerning.”
The words of BC Teachers Federation 2nd vice-president Terri Mooring in response to the provincial government’s new education bill, Bill 11.
“Yes, it’s very concerning, on a number of levels,” said Mooring while in Prince George Monday. “One level is, the sort of anti-democratic measures contained within it for school boards.”
She called it “enabling legislation,” which essentially means teachers won’t know how it’s actually going to be enacted until it becomes law (it passed 2nd reading earlier this week).
“So until the regulations are written, we really don’t know how it’s going to impact us. But we do know we’re concerned about school boards, and the minister’s (Education Minister Peter Fassbender) ability to override their decisions, to direct them to make projects.”
Mooring said it could result in Fassbender making decisions in Prince George rather than democratically elected trustees which she noted “really undermines” school board autonomy.
She also has privacy concerns noting the bill “enables information and data to be shared about students” which Mooring notes would be a violation under the Education Act.
Mooring added the bill could also have implications for teachers professional development as well.
“Prince George teachers have a proud history of having really high quality professional development here,” said Mooring. “So to be told by Minister Fassbender that teachers need to take certain courses perhaps, when teachers take professional development seriously already, we’re trying to figure out what problem to solve.”
Ultimately she figures the bill is an attempt to distract from what she said is the real issue in education right now, under-funding.
“Huge under-funding issues in all regions of the province. While Minister Fassbender calls that a myth, we know on the ground, school boards know that it’s a problem and it appears perhaps he wants to have more control over school boards to limit their ability to advocate around under-funding issues.”