June 9, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – The Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association has thrown its support behind the provincial government's controversial Task Force for Teaching Excellence.

In a May 16 press release, the ACSTA said it is encouraged that the taskforce made a commitment to excellence in teaching and school leadership its key "outcome."

It also lauded Alberta Education for its collaborative approach to gathering reaction to the taskforce from all involved stakeholders.

"Alberta has an excellent education system. But just like anything, unless you continually improve, sooner or later, you're not going to be the best anymore," said ACSTA president Tony Sykora. "Continued improvement is the basis for which all of this started."

ATA DENUNCIATION

The Alberta Teachers' Association has denounced the taskforce's proposal to make teachers undergo competency reviews every five years.

In an interview, Sykora said that because teaching is at the core of a successful education system, the ACSTA believes they must do all they can to achieve teaching excellence. That involves fostering growth in the teacher as a whole person.

"A good teacher is the most important factor in contributing to students' education," he said.

The taskforce was comprised of a group of educators, school leaders, educational consultants and community leaders who made recommendations aimed at achieving teaching excellence.

Sykora anticipates that Alberta's 23 individual Catholic school boards will give their evaluation of the taskforce recommendations. They have been advised to provide their feedback to government and to the taskforce directly.

FAITH FORMATION

"As the Catholic trustees of Alberta, we are very interested in having excellent teachers and educational leaders in all of our districts. We believe that faith formation for our students, teachers and leaders is a very important component," said Sykora.

Aside from following the Alberta curriculum, Catholic schools teach the ways of the faith to young people, he said.

The ACSTA is the voice of Catholic trustees in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

The taskforce consulted with nearly 3,000 Albertans before making recommendations for the future of the teaching profession. Albertans told the government that educators will need to be more flexible and innovative than ever before.