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The Big Shift From Reporting “TO” Parents to “Communicating “

January 17, 2014 by Tunya

I’m trying to trace a trajectory HOW and WHY reporting TO parents now becomes communicating.

In preparation for teacher union “job action” or “strike” 2011-2012 — negotiations preceded as to which services could be withdrawn as education is deemed an “essential service” in British Columbia.

2011, July 27— BCPSEA newsletter lists 30 out of 31 administrative duties BCTF asked to withdraw.  “Prepare or distribute report cards” was one of the 30 approved.  The 31st, taking and transmitting student attendance to the office, was still in dispute and to have a separate LRB hearing (p3     “Attendance taking” was later deemed essential.

2011, Aug 08, “Withholding Student Reports is Illegal”, blog post by T Audain  with excerpt from the School Act.  Comments dealt with the damage to the family and civil society when reports are withheld.

2012, Jan 19 A parent starts the Facebook page — Where Is My Kids Report Card? Interviews on CKNW radio and newspapers.  From Day 1 & throughout the strike teachers swarmed the site with their comments and spoke to parents’ dissatisfactions.  The message was that teachers were doing even more than usual to communicate with parents through emails and other means. Several pointed remarks, however, specifically said that parents should be nice.  Some parents said that there was a “spotty” record of these communications and that the 60 districts differed greatly.

August 2012 — “Enabling Innovation — Transforming Curriculum and Assessment”  BC Ministry of Education document,  11 pages,

on the topic of reporting

– “The advisory group recommended a shift in language use—from "reporting" to "communicating student learning"—to highlight the importance of ongoing communication between learners, teachers, and parents.”  p7

 – The concept of 5 core competencies was mentioned many times, which are different from the traditional skills (3Rs) and they are 1) communication, 2) critical thinking, 3) creative thinking and innovation, 4) personal responsibility and well-being, and 5) social responsibility.  These were to be cross-curricular, that is, to be expected from all subjects and class work.

2013 April 06 — a Ministry official, spoke to parents regarding special needs.  She mentioned that the personalized learning and BC Ed Plan were well on their way as policy and practice and that regardless of who wins the provincial election (May 14) the plan was a go ahead as it was part of a global transformation in education, “It’s international.” She mentioned a number of times that “communicating with parents” about competencies and achievements would be a priority.

MY OPINION:  I still think NOT producing report cards with standard grades is illegal.  The School Act is specific and I take this in two ways: 1) That it’s a duty and part of the contract that government schools undertake, and 2) That it’s the undertaking and expectation of the parent to receive these reports to monitor the child’s standing and to be thereby equipped, if indicated, to ask the school for remedial service, to find outside tutoring, or to remove the child to another educational setting, be it the home or another school.

Ever since I became involved with the pioneer efforts of the home education movement I became aware of “Grade Levels”.  Home educating parents usually relied on a simple chart provided by World Book, which outlined the subject matter and skills expected at the grade/age levels.  As long as that minimum was achieved, it was clear sailing. 

And, as long as parents willingly entrust their children to government schools they should expect that bare minimum assurance, outside of serious learning disability, of receiving a report as to their child’s standing according to expectations for their age.  To withhold and deny a report with standard benchmarks is to seriously undermine the role of the family in education of their children.  Families should not give up their right to receive standard reports from their child’s school.  TA


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