Some Truth About Choice in Public Education

A core mission of Reboot Alberta is a more informed citizenship around progressive values to ensure Albertan have elected representatives who are inclusive, diverse, compassionate, proactive and life-affirming.

In pursuit of that mission I will occasionally highlight the work of some civil society groups and organizations that I think will help non-affiliated progressive citizens become better informed.  In fact it may even help introduce individuals to those organizations in ways that they may choose to join them.  At the very least stay in touch with their work and ideally readers support the groups they identify with through donations.

This post highlights Public Interest Alberta and some of their work in supporting Public Education.

Support for PIA comes from an array of union-based organizations as does the Board of Directors.  Its focus on education and advocacy around pubic interest issues align very strongly with the values and aspirations of Reboot Alberta.  They too are committed to informed, engaged and activist citizens in “public spaces.” Recognize that Reboot is more political that PIA but there is synergy.

This link will take you to a blog by Carolyn Blasetti, the Executive Directors of Support Our Students Alberta.  Her post is about concerns around the privatization of Alberta’s education system.

One of the institutional means we have created, as a society to pursue these ends and help overcome past failures of our humanity, is our public education system.  That’s a tall order but, for the most part, our school boards, administrators, teachers, parent advisory councils, communities and students have been continuously committed to the social and cultural challenges.

There is no finish line in public education, just constant striving especially as we shift to a low-carbon and Industrial Revolution 4.0 technological economy.  Add in the increasing pressures for public education to help us understand and adapt our behaviours to better anticipate, prevent, detect and correct how we must live in the face of the severe consequences of environmental concerns like climate change.

Then come to grips with the social realities on children due to inequities caused by crowded class rooms, poverty, inadequate services for children with disabilities or trauma, increasing pressures on parents over resources like time and income resources. We also have other adaptation difficulties for students who are newcomers. and trying to fit in the a very different cultural reality.

Then pile on the politicization of public education and its privatization in the guise of “choice” by Charter Schools, religion faith-based schools and increasingly exclusive income-based private schools. All demand, receive and expect taxpayer funding for what they see and their entitlement.

Public Funding of Private/Religious Education: An Election Issue?

The public funding of the process of privatization of public education will be an election issue.  The Kenney controlled UCP will push for more public funding of “choice”as they frame the issues.  They will also advance the idea that competition between the public and private systems is a way of improving educational outcomes.

They will allege fundamentally that Freedom of Religion through educational institutions should be paramount over protecting individual rights of LGBTQ students from abuses and persecution in schools.

If these issues resonate with you, consider becoming a member of Public INterest Alberta.  It seems to be a place where you can help do something positive to advocate for a stronger,inclusive, diverse compassionate and modern public education system.

What kind of public education system for Albertans do you want to pay for at a taxpayer, as a citizen?

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