Wednesday, March 28, 2007

BC naughty-teachers list :)

New bill will create a naughty-teachers list
Those who have been punished would be publicly named

Ian Austin, The Province March 28, 2007

The B.C. government yesterday introduced legislation to compile a teacher disciplinary registry that will publicly name teachers who have been disciplined.

Education Minister Shirley Bond said the online registry will name teachers "when the discipline relates to physical, sexual or emotional harm to a student, or conduct or competence in breach of College [of Teachers] standards."

Bond said the registry will protect students and inform the public.

"Parents and school trustees asked for better access to information about educators who have been disciplined for misconduct, and this government committed to take action," said Bond. "Our students need to be safe in order to learn, and parents need to feel good about sending their children."

B.C. Teachers Federation president Jinny Sims called the registry "unnecessary" and said there are no guarantees teachers won't be publicly named for inconsequential matters.

"If a teacher is late three times, they may be suspended," said Sims. "This creates an unnecessary intrusion."

Sims called the proposed law a "distraction" to take the public's eye off serious concerns such as government underfunding and school seismic safety.

"This is just another unnecessary piece of legislation so they can say they're doing something when they're doing nothing," said Sims.

An education ministry spokesman said the B.C. College of Teachers already reports discipline decisions, but often without naming names.

"From September 2005 to January 2006, there were nine discipline decisions that were made public," said the spokesman. "Only two of the educators were named, and no details were available."

The proposed registry would include the name of each disciplined teacher in B.C., the teacher's record of suspensions or cancellations of credentials, and the discipline imposed.

The bill requires a minimum five-year posting of disciplined teachers, after which a teacher can apply to have his or her record removed from the website.

Bond says she hopes to see B.C.'s registry used as a model for a national registry, so that the discipline record of every teacher in Canada will be publicly available everywhere across the nation.

"We have been asking for years for this,'' said Penny Tees, president of the B.C. School Trustees' Association. "This gives districts a chance to do complete reference checks.''

Bond said the new registry makes B.C. "a national leader in the protection of students." But without a national registry, "the public still won't know if a teacher has been disciplined in another province."

The B.C. College of Teachers is the professional, self-regulatory body for more than 64,000 licensed educators in B.C. The registry will include disciplinary details for teachers, principals, superintendents and retired teachers.