Provincial government asking for public feedback on creating new teacher code of conduct

The new teacher code of conduct is expected to be implemented in January, based on public feedback.

The provincial government is encouraging Albertans to share their thoughts on a code of conduct for teachers across the province.

Feedback from Albertans gathered through a public survey will be used to help the provincial government develop a code of conduct for all teachers and teacher leaders in the province.

“Public feedback will help the province create a new code of conduct for teachers and teacher leaders to ensure that students, parents and the public have confidence in the education system,” a government of Alberta media release said.

There are two codes of conduct for teachers and teacher leaders currently in place, one for members of the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA), and one for those who are not members.

The ATA code of conduct is for teachers who work in public, separate and francophone schools, and those who work in school authority central offices who hold an active membership status in the ATA.

The code applies to about 85 per cent of Alberta’s practising teachers and teacher leaders, the release said.

Teachers who are not active members of the ATA must follow the Professional Conduct Requirements for Teachers and Teacher Leaders in the Practice Review of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation.

The conduct requirements apply to all teachers and teacher leaders employed in First Nations schools, public charter schools and independent schools, along with superintendents and teacher leaders who work in school authority central offices who are not active ATA members.

This code of conduct applies to about 15 per cent of teachers and teacher leaders, and all remaining certificated teachers and who have left the profession or retired.

Having one single code of conduct is expected to include the best and most effective features of both codes already in place, the release said.

“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,” Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange said.

Along with the public survey, the provincial government will continue to work with stakeholders to provide feedback on one code of conduct, including the ATA, the Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools, the Alberta School Boards Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta and the Association of Alberta Deans of Education.

“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,” CASS president Dr. Scott Morrison said.

The provincial government and stakeholders, 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., are also focusing on engagement with victim advocacy groups to ensure the new code of conduct will feature perspectives on student safety.

The new single code of conduct is expected to be implemented in January.

The public survey is available on until Oct. 7.

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