Alberta teachers pass no confidence vote against education minister

Alberta's Education Minister Jeff Johnson defended his Task Force on Teaching Excellence Report Saturday morning in Calgary to a crowd of concerned teachers.

Controversial Task Force on Teaching recommends teacher evaluations every 5 years

(CBC )

More than 400 teacher representatives from across Alberta say they have lost confidence in Education Minister Jeff Johnson.

Delegates at the Alberta Teachers' Association annual general meeting voted unanimously on the resolution Saturday afternoon, just hours after Johnson defended his controversial Task Force on Teaching Excellence Report.

"We are the boots on the ground," the ATA tweeted Saturday. "We were not invited to be part of the Task Force conversation, now our voice must be heard."

"This is a bold move. I don't believe we've ever done this before."

ATA officials slammed the report earlier this month, calling it unfair to teachers, and many are concerned about the changes proposed in the report.

The ATA says the report was created without their input and that Johnson "continues to say no and not work with us."

However, Johnson said the report isn't an attack on teachers and is an important part of strengthening the province's education system.

Among the recommendations is a proposal to evaluate teachers every five years.

Under the new system proposed by the report, teachers would have to prove they are competent at their jobs in order to renew their certification — responsibility for that review would be taken away from the ATA under the proposed changes.

The report also proposed allowing people from the trades, fine arts and other professions to get teaching certificates without getting an education degree.

Some parents support recommendations

Mark Ramsanker, president of the ATA, has criticized the recommendations and said the report itself is "a direct assault on teachers in the province and on the profession itself."

But not everyone is upset by the report. 

Some parents have said the changes would give them more confidence in Alberta's education system.

"I think there are teachers out there that definitely need to be kept an eye on," said Mike Mah, who added he has had problems with one of his children's teachers in the past. "I have a lot of teachers in my family but I think I'd be supporting [this] because ... I think it's important that teachers are checked and evaluated every five years to see where they're at."

Crystal Nahaiowski, a mother of two, says she also agrees with the report.

"With your children's education at stake, I think actually that is a very good idea," she said.

According to Johnson, the report was created by a task force made up of 16 education specialists and included several experienced teachers.

The province is hoping to get feedback from the public, the ATA and other provincial school boards by July in order to work out the details over the summer and fall in caucus.


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