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PEC Points

May 26, 2015 Shelley Svidal, ATA News Staff

PEC seeks to name bursary program after Bernie Keeler

Highlights of the Provincial Executive Council meeting held May 7–8, 2015, at Barnett House in Edmonton

1. Directed staff to ask the ATA Educational Trust Board to name the bursary program in recognition of Dr. B. T. Keeler, the Association’s fourth executive secretary, who died on Jan. 1, 2015, after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The bursary program, which does not have a name, was a key component of his vision in establishing the trust.

2. Approved, for submission to the 2015 Annual Representative Assembly, resolutions

a) urging the Government of Alberta to conduct a comprehensive review of curriculum reform processes with the objective of developing a plan for collaborative curriculum renewal consistent with the Association’s 2014 Declaration on Curriculum Development and Implementation;

b) urging the government of Alberta to reject the provisions of the budget of March 26, 2015, and to bring forward a new budget that will guarantee funding equity for students and school boards by ensuring that growth in student enrolment is appropriately funded and that funding is restored for programs serving vulnerable students, including those with special learning needs and English language learners; and

c) urging the government of Alberta to institute ministerial orders that will support the establishment and operation of gay–straight alliances (GSAs) (or similar organizations established under section 35.1 of the Education Act) by

i) preventing the disclosure of a student’s membership in a GSA (or similar organization) or participation in the organization’s activities to any person without the explicit prior consent of the student;

ii) confirming the right of the student(s) who request establishment of a GSA, or similar organization, to determine the final operational name of that organization;

iii) confirming the right of student members and teacher advisors to determine the purpose, activities, projects and undertakings of the GSA, or similar organization;

iv) protecting principals and teachers who facilitate the creation or operation of a GSA, or similar organization, from employment discrimination or sanctions, formal or informal, related to their activities with the GSA, or similar organization; and

v) affirming the right of denominational schools to require, as a condition of hiring or enrolment, a declaration of faith, but thereafter precluding discrimination on any protected ground, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

3. Established a Committee on Election Review and approved allocations from Contingency for 2014/15 and 2015/16 for its operation.

4. Directed that the budget earmarked for periodic international assistance in 2014/15 be forwarded to the Solidarity with Nepal fund, established by Education International.

5. Received the report of a hearing committee, which found a teacher guilty of one charge of unprofessional conduct for engaging in conduct for which the teacher was convicted of an indictable offence, to wit, possession of child pornography, contrary to section 163.1(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada. The hearing committee imposed the penalty of declaring the teacher ineligible for membership in the Association and directing that a recommendation be made to the minister of education to cancel the teacher’s teaching certificate.

6. Appealed to the Professional Conduct Appeal Committee on the grounds of insufficient penalty the decision of a hearing committee. The hearing committee had found a teacher guilty of two charges of unprofessional conduct for engaging in an inappropriate Twitter conversation, which included comments of a sexual nature, with a young person who had previously been the teacher’s student and, in so doing, failing to treat the student with dignity and respect and for engaging in an inappropriate Twitter conversation, which included comments of a sexual nature, with a young person who had previously been the teacher’s student and, in so doing, failing to maintain the honour and dignity of the profession. To address both charges, the hearing committee had imposed the penalty of a single letter of severe reprimand.

7. Consistent with section 31(2) of the Teaching Profession Act, extended to December 31, 2015, the deadline for the commencement of two hearings of the Professional Conduct Committee.

8. Nominated one Council member and one field member to the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) Advisory  Committee on the Status of Women for a two-year term.

9. Extended a field member’s term on the CTF Advisory Committee on French as a First Language for a second two-year term.

10. Approved Council committee and representation assignments for 2015/16.

11. Notwithstanding administrative guidelines, extended to June 30, 2018 President Mark Ramsankar’s eligibility to serve as chair of the School Administrator Issues and Concerns Committee. ❚

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