Report cards won’t include students’ grades

Report cards will do little more than record how often students were absent or late for school

Don’t blame your kid if his or her report card isn’t up to snuff.

Unless a deal is reached on the ongoing labour dispute involving B.C. teachers, report cards will do little more than record how often students were absent or late for school.

“Unless your son or daughter is taught by a principal or vice principal, there will not be a mark, work habit or comment,” said Greater Victoria School District superintendent of schools John Gaiptman. “We can all agree report cards are an important source of information for parents. It is regrettable we are not sending out the report cards that parents are used to seeing.”

Report cards will be sent out between the second week of November and the first week of December.

Teachers consider filling out report cards to be administrative work, which they have not been doing since their work-to-rule campaign began two months ago.

Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association president Tara Ehrcke said parents can still get all the information they need by talking to their child’s teacher, which she suggests might be even better than what parents get from a piece of paper.

“Teachers have been advised by the union to continue communication about student progress with parents and students,” Ehrcke said. “I think that a face-to-face conversation or phone call can provide more depth or understanding than what is on a report card. Report cards are very prescriptive using coded marks. It is actually fairly restrictive. I think in a lot of cases parents will get more info than a report card will show.”

Both sides continue to work towards a resolution before the spring report cards. The last contract with B.C.’s 41,000 public school teachers expired in June.

In addition to wage and benefit increases, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation wants restoration of class size and special needs support rules, after a court ruling gave the government a year to consult with teachers on appropriate levels.

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association was expected to apply to the B.C. Labour Relations Board Wednesday for a declaration on report cards and the option of reduced pay for reduced work. Teachers are also refusing playground supervision and most routine contact with administration. There has been little progress on talks for a new contract.

“If parents feel the information is insufficient we encourage them to contact the teacher,” Ehrcke said. “We don’t want any parent to feel they are in the dark or don’t know about their student’s progress.”

– With files from Tom Fletcher

editor@saanichnews.com