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'Fact finder' to investigate College of Teachers

Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid today announced the appointment of Don Avison as a "fact finder" to look into reported problems in the B.C. College of Teachers.

In a news release published on the ministry website, MacDiarmid said:

“I received a request from the college council, including the council chair, requesting provincial assistance in reviewing the B.C. College of Teachers to ensure it is operating as mandated. As a result of this request, I have engaged Don Avison as a fact finder to meet with the college council and stakeholder groups and report back to me.”

MacDiarmid's release also noted that the request for a review of the College was signed by most of the College's council members, "including both elected and appointed members." Other groups supporting the review include the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, the B.C. School Trustees Association, the Federation of Independent School Associations, the B.C. School Superintendents' Association, and the B.C. Principals' and Vice Principals' Association.

Notably absent from the list is the B.C. Teachers' Federation.

With most of its table officers en route from eastern Canada and unavailable for comment, the BCTF issued a brief response under the name of Second Vice-President Jim Iker:

The BC Teachers’ Federation fully supports the mandate of the BC College of Teachers.

The appointment of a fact finder will hopefully shed light on the manufactured crisis created by the current chair and registrar. The BCTF looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the fact finder to express our concerns about the actions of the current chair and registrar that have needlessly heightened a sense of dysfunction within the college council.

...The BCTF has been very clear that we are willing to meet and work with the BC College of Teachers to address any concerns. We are ready, willing, and able to work with the college on any issue. What teachers are asking for is an inclusive and transparent process that respects their professional voices within the BC College of Teachers.

A BCTF media-relations officer directed The Tyee to a presentation made to the BCCT by First Vice-President Susan Lambert on April 1, objecting to changes in the College's governance proposed at the December 2009 council meeting. (Lambert will become President of the BCTF on July 1.)

The officer also referred to a statement posted on the BCTF website as a response to a May 6 opinion piece published in The Vancouver Sun by College council chair Richard Walker.

More detailed responses are expected from the BCTF executive Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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