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B.C. government orders school districts to issue report cards

Mar 28 2012

Click here to read the government's letter to school superintendents

The B.C. government has instructed school districts to issue the first detailed report cards of the year to all students, now that the teachers' strike is over.

In a move quickly denounced by the teachers' union, the government sent school superintendents a letter Tuesday calling it "imperative" that each parent get a formal update on their child's progress as soon as possible.

"Parents still have the opportunity to intervene in support of children who are struggling with their level of achievement if reports are made available in a timely manner," deputy education minister James Gorman writes.

B.C. Teachers' Federation president Susan Lambert accused the government of picking another fight with teachers and said her members have no intention of writing reports that were missed during legal job action.

"I don't understand what the deputy minister is thinking," she said.

"It's a very basic principle that you don't make up struck work. Otherwise, why would you go on strike?"

The province's 41,000 teachers, who are without a contract, began the school year by refusing to write report cards or meet with administrators. The job action was approved by the Labour Relations Board.

The School Act requires three formal report cards a year. The first was sent in December without grades, and the second, due earlier this month, was never issued. Gorman said that report cards can go out now because the government has passed Bill 22, halting work disruptions.

Lambert said it's too late and that elementary and middle school students will not receive a formal report until the end of June. Teachers will, however, prepare reports due in the next few weeks for high school students on the semester system.

Lambert said teachers have had a "far richer, far deeper" communication with parents this year than report cards provide. "Parents know how their children are doing."

But Gorman said that, while many teachers have been good at keeping parents informed, "unfortunately, we also know of situations where parents were not informed and have been surprised by the lack of progress, and even failure, of students in courses and grades."

lkines@timescolonist.com

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