Changes needed for teacher misconduct, report says

An independent review of teacher discipline released this morning said the system is broken.

Review for province says students and parents have few places to turn

A report on how complaints about teachers are handled was released in Saskatoon, Jennifer Quesnel reports. 2:09

An independent review of teacher discipline released Friday says the current system is broken.

The report, commissioned by the Saskatchewan government, concludes that students and parents have few places to turn in cases of teacher misconduct.

It said the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation is dedicated to collective bargaining for its members, but the STF has too much potential for conflicts of interest when it tries to handle complaints.

Since 2000, 17 per cent of the 139 formal complaints filed about alleged misdeeds by teachers have led to some form of sanction.

Dr. Dennis Kendel, who wrote the report, said Friday that the STF and the government are set to adopt interim measures to fix the problems. More permanent solutions are expected later in 2014. Two of the temporary solutions are having all complaints investigated by someone outside of the STF and to have more public reporting on disciplinary hearings and outcomes. 

Transparency a problem

Kendel's report says that the current process for teacher regulation is "remarkably non-transparent." 

"Transparency is really, really important in encouraging people to come forward," Kendel said.

Education Minister Don Morgan said the system currently in place appears to be somewhat ad hoc and inconsistent and doesn't have good input from the public.

"The expectation from the public should be that we have protection of students as our first priority and a method of regulation that reflects principles of natural justice and ensures a fair regulatory environment for the teachers," Morgan said. "We value them."

The report suggests setting up a separate authority for teachers similar to the one that governs doctors.

The government commissioned the study after several media reports of serious teacher misconduct earlier this year.

STF disagrees with findings

In a media release, the STF said it's disappointed with the report, saying it lacked critical analysis, consultation and was too narrow in its scope. 

The STF said that the report focused only on the disciplinary processes of the organization even though the federation shares responsibility with school divisions, the League of Education Administrators, as well as school division directors and superintendents and the Ministry of Education. 

Despite the concerns raised, the STF said the review was beneficial and offered an opportunity for its own review. 


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