Today the government released its public survey to gather input into the development of its new code of conduct. The ATA’s Code of Professional Conduct is a cornerstone of the teaching profession and was one of the first orders of business for the Alberta Teachers’ Alliance in 1918. Ever since, the Code of Professional Conduct has continued to be foundational to the professional identity of teachers in Alberta’s public, separate and francophone schools.
The current Code of Professional Conduct was originally developed, and evolved over the years, to reflect teachers’ deep understanding of their responsibilities toward students, the high expectations placed on teachers by the community, and the practical realities and complexities of teachers’ work.
Earlier this year, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange introduced Bill 15, which proposed significant changes to professional regulations, including the imposition of a new code of professional conduct developed by the government. The government’s new code, which would apply to all teachers and teacher leaders in Alberta, must be in place by January 1, 2023.
The Association is concerned that this survey, much like its other “consultations” on curriculum or on other issues, is predominantly political in nature and designed to distract from the real challenges facing public education today. Association staff have highlighted serious concerns with the survey, notably the confusion of conduct issues with competence and the potential for the government’s code to diminish teachers’ professional judgment in favour of enforcing abject compliance with the employer’s and government’s directives.
Despite its well-founded skepticism, the Association encourages all teachers to respond to the survey and to make their voices heard on a matter of critical importance to them as professionals.
The survey is available on alberta.ca until Friday, October 7, 2022.