ATA Annual Representative Assembly denounces Bill 15 and looks to research how to close learning gaps caused by pandemic

Stephanie Babych 3 minute read May 24, 2022

The discipline process for educators and the new provincial curriculum were the hottest topics as more than 500 teacher delegates from across Alberta gathered face-to-face for the first time in three years over the weekend.

The 105th Annual Representative Assembly, hosted at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary over the weekend, brought together teachers from across the province to advocate for the Alberta Teachers’ Association’s 46,000 members and vote on several key resolutions. Included in the resolutions were a denunciation of Bill 15, the UCP government’s plan to overhaul the province’s teacher complaint and discipline process, and a request not to rush the implementation of the new curriculum.

“We passed a resolution that actually denounces Bill 15, saying that we think that Bill 15 is a mistake by government, but we also recognize that we need to set up our next steps as an association if Bill 15 is enacted,” ATA president Jason Schilling said in a telephone interview Monday.

“We talked about the curriculum, which is a major topic of discussion for teachers, parents and Albertans across the province. One of the resolutions that we passed was the fact that curriculums should have a full-year pilot implementation and not be rushed through.”

Bill 15, the Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline Amendment Act, would strip the ATA of its disciplinary function, replacing it with a commissioner appointed by cabinet to handle misconduct complaints.

The ATA has criticized the legislation as a “massive power grab” that opens the door to political interference. The resolution to denounce the bill was passed by the assembly.

During his speech Saturday, Schilling said the curriculum and the ATA’s regulatory function are among the most pressing issues that Alberta teachers face.

“These issues are a threat, but I know that we will stand together united to fight for what we believe is best for education, for students and for ourselves,” he told the assembly.

The teachers also discussed the effects of the pandemic on learning and the mental health and morale of teachers and students.

“Some of our students are coming to school with some gaps in their learning, to no fault of anybody because they were trying to learn through a pandemic,” said Schilling.

“We passed a resolution to do research and to provide the association things we believe the education system could look at to improve these things moving forward for our students.”

Another resolution was passed to analyze what can be done to create a comprehensive plan for improving teachers’ wellness.

Teachers worked for two years shifting between in-person and online education, while trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their classrooms, Schilling said. One of the aims of the research is to find tangible solutions to get back on track with learning after so many significant disruptions.

“It has been a challenging two years for teachers. They know what’s best for their students but they’re tired, a lot of people are right now, but we’re looking forward to the next couple of months as we come out of the pandemic,” the ATA president said.
Twitter: @BabychStephanie


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