The provincial government is seeking input from Albertans to help develop a single code of professional conduct for all teachers and teacher leaders regardless of where they are employed.
According to the government, one unified code of professional conduct will include the best and most effective features of both codes which are currently implemented.
Currently, there are two codes of conduct for teachers and teacher leaders, one for those who are members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and one for those who are not.
The ATA Code of Professional Conduct is for teachers who work in public, separate and francophone schools as well as those who work in school authority central offices who are part of the collective agreement and hold active membership status in the ATA. This code applies to about 85 per cent of Alberta’s practising teachers and teacher leaders.
The Professional Conduct Requirements for Teachers and Teacher Leaders are found in the schedule of the Practice Review of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation. These conduct requirements apply to all teachers and teacher leaders who are not active members of the ATA, including those employed in First Nations schools, public charter schools and independent schools, as well as superintendents and teacher leaders who work in school authority central offices and are not active ATA members. This code of conduct applies to about 15 per cent of Alberta’s practising teachers and teacher leaders and all remaining certificated teachers and teacher leaders who have left the profession or retired.
Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange said that this is another step that improves the quality of classroom education in Alberta.
“We’re building on our important work to enhance oversight of the teaching profession and ensure the safety and wellbeing of students so they can get the education we know they deserve.”
Her sentiments were supported by the President of the College of Alberta School Superintendents, Dr. Scott Morrison, who said that the CASS board of directors is pleased the ministry will consult school system leaders, other education partners and the broader public in the development of the new code of professional conduct.
In addition to the public survey, the government said they are continuing to engage with a broad spectrum of key education system stakeholders who will provide valuable feedback and insight on the unified code of professional conduct. This includes the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools, the Alberta School Boards Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta and the Association of Alberta Deans of Education.
Consultations have also included focused engagement with victim advocacy groups including the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre and the Respect Group Inc. Former NHL player and co-founder of Respect Group Inc, Sheldon Kennedy said that the future code of professional conduct is so important precisely because teachers are entrusted with children every day.
"I’m pleased to see Alberta’s government engaging with a wide range of education partners, victim advocacy groups and everyday parents, teachers, and students. This survey is an opportunity for all of us to share our feedback, on behalf of the youth we serve, to develop this new code of conduct.”
During the review of the teacher discipline process, which informed the Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act, stakeholder engagement also included victim advocacy groups. Continued engagement with victim advocacy groups will ensure that standards in the new single code of conduct consider important perspectives on student safety.
It is anticipated that the new code of conduct will be implemented on January 1, 2023.
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