Teachers Want Support for Parents’ Top Choice: Public Education

Release Date 2020 05 28

The proposed Choice in Education Act does very little to improve education for the vast majority of students in Alberta, says Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling.

“Parents in Alberta already have significant choice, and the vast majority choose public education. In Alberta, public education includes schools in public, separate and francophone school divisions; 93 per cent of Alberta’s students attend those schools. We believe that parents and teachers want to see those students supported most.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA president

Schilling is pleased the legislation does not introduce a voucher system for private schools and says expanding school choice must never come at the expense of public education.

“This year, private schools received a 4 per cent funding increase while public boards received about 2 per cent less. This is unfair and inequitable. As school boards set their budgets for next year, we are hearing about program cuts and larger classes. Addressing this issue should be the priority of government—not catering to a very small group of vocal private and home-school advocates.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA president

While most of the bill has little significant impact on the education system, Schilling says there are two areas of concern. Public boards should still have the option to adopt a program of choice before a charter school is established. Also, home education should remain subject to accountability and oversight provided by public boards or private operators. 

 “Unsupervised home education should be a concern to all Albertans. A child’s right to a quality education must not be sacrificed in the name of parental choice.”

—Jason Schilling, ATA president

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, safeguards standards of professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.

For more information or to arrange an interview with President Schilling, contact Mark Milne at 780-905-0014 or mark.milne@ata.ab.ca.