For a government that seemingly wants to privatize a lot of different departments see post secondary education and health. they sure do want to get involved. Post secondary education is in shambles right now (see the Universities of Lethbridge, Calgary and Alberta if you want to know how well it is going) and on April 4, AHS announced they fired the non ‘yes’-person president Dr. Dr. Verna Yiu. The more extremist side of the UCP didn’t like her and with the leadership review happening soon it was not a coincidence this happened.
Prediction: someone with ties to the UCP as well as either DynaLife or Alberta Precision Laboratories will be the new president, i.e. someone who has a more “diverse background” in health.
Everything is pointing to large scale for profit companies becoming more involved, whether it is delivering the services in health or big business funding universities for research projects such as agriculture for example, the government is trying to get out of the government funding business. Potential and investing in the future with government dollars doesn’t seem to be a high priority… let the private sector handle it.
Strangely enough, secondary education is not part of that equation. The Alberta government is changing the curriculum for secondary students in the new year. Filling an “advisory group” with handpicked UCP-friendly advisors, none of which were active teachers, of creating a new curriculum.
When it first came out, it was met with a lot of residence, even mocked for the many errors in facts. When it was revised, it was still resisted and with the end of the school year approaching, the angst amongst parents and teacher alike grows.
In late January, Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, one of the least visible of the Alberta provincial ministers, said there was some tweaking that needed to be done. Hence it was announced “Alberta’s government is establishing a Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation strategy and timelines for a new kindergarten to Grade 6 (K-6) curriculum. The group will help determine how new curriculums for English Language Arts and Literature, Mathematics, and Physical Education and Wellness will be successfully implemented in September 2022. This includes identifying potential supports that may be needed and options for providing these supports to school authorities. They will also provide advice and recommendations on the continuation of piloting the remaining K-6 subjects beginning in September 2022 and provide strategies for implementing these subjects beginning in September 2023.”
Well that didn’t work.
A series of Ditch the Draft protests popped up in major centres across Alberta April 2. Sadly while the special interests of education and children’ futures were represented by teachers and a handful of parents and wasn’t pushed like saying rallies for people who think “Trudeau sucks!” and the demanding of the lifting of “communist” bans even though they have all been lifted already (good job protestors!), it is very perplexing what the government is trying to do.
On the one hand, they are giving up control and on the other they are trying to dictate that Jason Kenney’s relative was part of Alberta’s musical history while the Indigenous community still has their history improperly taught.
Throw in Bill 15: Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline Amendment Act which basically takes the power away from teachers, their association… cough cough hated unions cough cough and you have a very racquet ball style of theory.
Sydney J Harris once said the “The purpose of education is to turn mirror into windows.”
What are our future generations looking at when they look in that mirror? As education evolves, what are they learning? Are there more life skills classes, how can school mathematics help with budgeting for life, do children know how to use wood working tools, can they change oil, can they read?
As members of society and voters, we have to trust what the government is doing in regards to make the best decisions for everyone. However, it is easy to be at best skeptical at what is going on with children’s education, whether you have a family member going or not.
This editorial originated in the Bow Island Commentator.