Alberta teachers, parents worried public education is under attack
Posted Oct 12, 2021 03:27:53 PM.
CALGARY — Teachers and parents in Alberta are teaming up to battle the government’s plans for schools.
The Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) and the Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA) have launched a major ad campaign.
Jason Schilling with the ATA says the government is making dangerous changes to the curriculum, slashing education funding and increasing class sizes.
“These changes are putting unnecessary pressures on our education system that will have major consequences. And they’re happening at a time when parents, teachers and children continue to juggle the challenges of an ongoing pandemic,” said Schilling.
He says the curriculum to be implemented by the province is not just dangerous, but is reckless and regressive and would not have looked out of place in the 1950s.
ASCA president Brandi Rai has five kids in grades six through eleven. She’s urging Albertans to join their fight at www.StandForEducation.ca.
“Funding reductions, increased class sizes, and questionable curriculum changes are putting the learning successes of Alberta’s students at risk.
“Together parents and teachers share the responsibility for protecting children and preparing them for the future,” said Rai.
“In many ways, it feels like education, as we know it and need it to be, is being eroded. It is being attacked. This is not fair to our students. This is not what a quality, equitable education is. The decisions that take place today will affect my children. They will affect all of our children for the rest of their lives,” added Rai.
Jean Porter, a grade 7 teacher in Leduc, told a Tuesday press conference about the difficulties and hurdles in the classroom.
“It is our job as teachers to make sure children are equipped for the future but that has not been easy in Alberta, as of late. Teaching through a pandemic is difficult but teaching through a pandemic while funding is being cut, class sizes are increasing and a dangerous curriculum is being introduced, is unbelievably challenging for teachers and damaging for our student’s education,” said Porter.
“Teachers and parents are coming together to let the government know that our kids’ futures are at risk. Children are our future leaders, and the decisions our government is making about public education now will affect all of us down the road,” she added.
In a statement attributed to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, the minister accuses the teachers’ union and ASCA of distorting reality to score political points.
“The reality is that Alberta continues to be a leader in public education and I have been very clear on our desire to work collaboratively with all education stakeholders, including the teacher’s union and ASCA,” read the statement.
“I have also been clear that we want feedback on the draft curriculum, and will carefully consider all feedback we receive to make improvements to the draft from all Albertans and Education stakeholders, including any provided from the teacher’s union. Education funding has been maintained and Alberta continues to have one of the best-funded education systems in Canada at $8.3 billion dollars. This funding is highlighted by the growing taxpayer-funded school board reserves across the province, which early indications are showing sit at over $400 million dollars, compared to $363 million at the start of the pandemic. During the pandemic school authorities have also had access to over $1 billion dollars in additional supports.”