Let Alberta’s “Catholic” teachers use judgment in religious instruction, union says

Let Alberta’s “Catholic” teachers use judgment in religious instruction, union says

[“Judgment” as in the Protestant principle of Private Judgment? If so, matters of faith are up for grabs, and morals are down the drain!]

Keith Gerein
Published on: May 20, 2017

Members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association overwhelmingly passed a resolution Saturday calling on Catholic school boards to respect teachers’ autonomy in how they deliver religious instruction, including lessons on sexual orientation and gender.

Association president Mark Ramsankar described the vote as a response to increasing pressure some teachers have experienced from employers to use specific learning materials and avoid others.

In particular, there have been concerns about teachers being discouraged from using the Professionals Respecting and supporting Individual Sexual Minorities (PRISM) toolkit that has been developed for teachers to talk about sexual and gender diversity in the classroom.

The toolkit, developed by the association and Alberta Education, has been the subject of opposition from some Catholic districts and other groups, including Parents for Choice in Education.

“We are finding more and more often that in different scenarios throughout the province that this autonomy and this ability for teachers to exercise their judgment is being taken away,” Ramsankar said.

In addition to the PRISM toolkit, teachers are facing various kinds of instruction “on which resources can and cannot be used, how to use the resources, how to teach and when to teach it,” he said.

Some ATA members who voted against the resolution said Catholic boards had the right to expect their employees not to stray from Catholic doctrine.

Ramsankar said teachers within the Catholic system have an obligation to deliver the mandated curriculum and ensure the religion’s values are permeated throughout the lessons, but how that’s done should be left to each teacher’s discretion.

Other resolutions passed by ATA members included:

• Encouraging school boards to full fund in-person mental health supports for teachers, particularly those in rural and remote areas;

• Calling on the association to advocate for gay-straight alliances for teachers across the province;

• Urging separate school boards to treat all teachers equally and not use their denominational rights as a basis for discrimination. This is a concern particularly relevant to LGBTQ teachers, the association said.

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http://angelqueen.org/2017/05/21/let-albertas-catholic-teachers-use-judgment-in-religious-instruction-union-says/
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