I have always believed that the role of a Trustee is to ensure parents are informed about what’s happening with education in our province. This election, education has been front and centre. Here’s a breakdown of what the four main parties vying for your vote have promised. I have tried to summarize their main education platform points as clearly and as fairly as possible.
Something to keep in mind as you read through the platform points, is the main request from Edmonton Public Trustees and trustees that took part in an education rally outside Rogers Place in Edmonton and the Saddledome in Calgary. At that rally trustees made it clear that we need funding to accommodate the 15,000 additional students who will attend schools in Alberta next year. Funding for enrolment growth is one of our top concerns in this provincial election.
- will fund for enrolment growth (yippeee!)
- increase the number of educational assistants in Alberta’s classrooms (Mandel later added this will help ease the transition to the seclusion room ban set to take effect in September.) No numbers provided.
- Increase funding for inclusive education by 50 per cent
- commitment that every child who is enrolled in all publicly funded schools (so that includes public boards, the Catholics, charter schools and private schools – yes, they are ALL funded by tax payer dollars) be vaccinated.
- Increase age cap on education funding from 19 years old to 25 (interesting idea, not sure where all these students would go in Edmonton Public schools given our serious space crunch.)
- will continue to use public dollars to fund private schools at the current rate of 70 percent what a student attending a public school receives.
- Supportive of current curriculum review.
- Move mental health funding from AHS to local school boards (cue the hearty applause here! Great idea)
- The Alberta Party wants class sizes to decrease (don’t we all?), but stopped short of remarking on current class size guidelines or mandatory caps. They would consult with teachers and school boards before assembling a plan, he said.
Click here for full education platform from the Alberta Party.
- Promise to cap class sizes, beginning with K-3 (though no clear plan how to make this a reality)
- Fund enrolment growth (yipppeee!)
- More funding for educational assistants (no firm numbers that I could find.)
- Ban on seclusion rooms (in keeping with NDP’s committment earlier this Spring.)
- Increase in funding for mental health services in schools (no firm dollar commitment, except to say it’s part of $600 million overall investment in mental health)
- Will ban junk food from schools
- Will keep current curriculum review “it’s not perfect but it has made good progress. It would be a waste of taxpayers dollars to throw it out.”
To read the full Liberal platform click here
- Will fund for enrollment growth (yipppeee!)
- Will hire 1,000 more teachers
- Commitment to build and upgrade 70 schools, “with an emphasis on badly needed high schools.” Yup – Edmonton needs one of those.
- Playgrounds for every new school build and $5 million annual to replace playgrounds at mature schools.
- Commitment to expand new language programs, including creating new Filipino, Punjami, Somali and Cantonese classes in Alberta schools.
To read the NDP’s platform click here.
United Conservative Party
- Replace Alberta’s School Act with the former PC government’s Education Act. This is complex. To read more about EPSB’s take on this read this Edmonton Journal article where Board Chair Michelle Draper is quoted.
- If the Education Act is enacted it would mean the NDP’s Bill 24 on protecting gay-straight alliances is null and void and parents could be notified by teachers if their child decides to join a GSA.
- Re-instate grade 3 provincial achievement tests (tests are optional right now)
- New math and literacy exams in grades 1, 2 and 3
- Scrap the current curriculum review (more consultation needed the UCP says and more emphasis on Alberta and Canadian history and geography.)
- Commitment to build more schools
- “Immediate audit of class sizes.”
- Commitment to “maintain or increase education funding.”
- Remove cap for the number of charter schools in Alberta (currently at 15.)
To read more on the UCP platform click here