Maple Ridge teachers sending home grades

Union claims communication with parents has improved during job action

Some teachers across the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District have opted to send home paper and electronic report cards despite provincial job action.

Maple Ridge Teachers’ Association president George Serra said the job action only prevents teachers from issuing the provincially mandated report cards.

“All along we’ve said that teachers should communicate with parents and students about their progress,” said Serra. “But that’s up to teachers how to do that … we’ve always left it open to the teacher.”

Serra said teachers at some schools have organized a common format for their own report cards, while others have opted to email letter grades and comments to parents directly.

However, it remains up to the individual teachers how they choose to communicate with parents.

“The feedback that I’ve heard is that communication between teachers and parents is actually better, because teachers aren’t just relying on the report card,” Serra said.

Teachers across the province have been taking part in the job action after contract talks with the province broke down over the summer.

As a result, teachers have not been meeting with administrators, taking part in extracurricular activities, or preparing report cards using the provincial template.

The contract the province has proposed would see teacher wages frozen for the first two years of the contract. That equates to a wage decrease, when the rising cost of living is taken in to consideration, Serra contends.

The provincial government announced on Monday it is facing a $3.1 billion budget deficit – more than $300 million more than previously anticipated.

Despite the increasingly bare government coffers, Serra said the province has the ability to offer teachers a fair contract, should it so choose.

“At the end of the day, it’s about priorities,” said Serra.

“The province wants everyone to believe that things are bad right now. But it’s not that simple.”