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Two years ago, I read Flip the System and it reinforced the way I feel about education. The book is a compilation of essays written by educators from around the world who believe that teachers should be steering education. Teachers should be the foundation of all decisions pertaining to the classroom and their students. In turn, education would become more humane and democratic.
Where do teachers have a say? In their school level committees, in particular the VAR (Value Added Remuneration) Committee, the PIC (Professional Improvement Committee), the Student-Teacher-Fund Committee, the Special Needs Committee and School Council. This is why it is important for teachers to get involved in these committees.
PIC would not exist without you. An amount of $240 is attached to each full-time equivalent teacher post for professional improvement. In vocational training, this amount is $300. Approximately 60% of these funds go directly to the schools and is controlled by the PIC. This is why it is important for teachers to develop their local PIC policies and decide how the money is to be spent.
VAR is outlined in Appendix 26 of our Provincial Entente. This money is in the budgetary rules from the MEES. The Committee should make decisions for local extracurricular activities based on the guidelines that can be found in the VAR Guidelines. These guidelines were created by teachers using the parameters in Appendix 26.
In addition, teachers who have student teachers should sit on the Student-Teacher-Fund Committee, whose members meet when the funds arrive in the school. The teachers who have volunteered to help new teachers in their internships should have a say in deciding how these funds are used in their schools.
The Special Needs Committee is where the plan for class groupings should be discussed. This is also the committee responsible for decisions regarding the services for special needs students in your school.
Let's not forget School Council. At this table, teachers are consulted on various matters, including the Standards and Procedures of Evaluation, School Success Plan, Student Supervision, Rules of Conduct, etc. Collaboration is the key to a better school community. PTU in association with the school board offers a School Council Workshop to facilitate the functioning of this important committee (contact PTU for more information).
Knowledge is power!
It's time to flip the system and contribute to the future of your school.
 See clause 4-4.02 in our local agreement