The Okanagan-Skaha Teachers’ Union would like to thank the parents and students of School District 67 (Okanagan-Skaha) for your continued support and understanding as we work through Phase One of our job action. Teachers fully understand that you are concerned about your child’s education.
Because of this, we have structured Phase One so that it is all about teaching and not about administrative and paperwork that often take up considerable time. That time is better devoted to the classroom.
You may have heard in the news that Education Minister George Abbott is considering legislation to end the current strike. His rationale for this government interference is his concern that you, the parents, are not being given the details of your child’s progress. There are two points that need to be made clear immediately so that you have the correct information.
First, the school year has only just begun. Formal report cards, the type referred to by Minister Abbott, would not be occurring for several weeks and in some schools not until November if we were not in job action, so his presumption that you are uninformed about your child is premature at best. In the meantime, teachers should be contacting you in their usual ways if they have a concern.
Second, Phase One does not stop teachers from providing students and their parents with progress reports at any time. In fact, The Okanagan-Skaha Teachers’ Union and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation expect that informal reporting is occurring on an ongoing basis be it teacher, student or parent initiated and that if there are any concerns, that they are discussed with parents at the earliest possible date. These communications could be informal meetings, phone calls, assignments sent home to be signed and returned, comments in agendas, notes home, emails or online depending on the usual method employed by the individual teacher.
The intent of this job action is for teachers to get back to the basics of teaching by limiting administrative duties with as few disruptions to students as possible. For the minister to even suggest legislation this early in the process, for reasons that are unfounded, is disingenuous and appears to be based on misinformation.
If you have any questions about the progress of your daughter or son, please contact their teacher. They will be happy to discuss your child’s progress with you. For further information, please contact OSTU president Kevin Epp (250-492-4915).
Kevin Epp, president
Okanagan-Skaha Teachers’ Union