In his address to ARA delegates, Canadian Teachers’ Federation president Mark Ramsankar (also ATA past president) warned of a “disturbing trend” across Canada of newly elected conservative governments eroding public education through inadequate funding and removing safeguards for gender and sexual minorities.
“Here in Alberta we have a newly-elected government. I look forward to the fact that it has its sights set on public education. Truly, we await their approach. Many think that it might not be pretty and … I know Alberta teachers are bracing themselves,” said Ramsankar.
He drew enthusiastic applause with a direct appeal to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, who was sitting nearby.
“Miss minister, I’m calling on you right here to work with this Association, to work with the profession on all decisions that impact who we are and what has always made Alberta the best education system in the world,” Ramsankar said.
He stressed the need for teachers to stand up for all students and alluded to the government’s plans to remove protections making it illegal to “out” students who participate in gay–straight alliances.
“We will push back on any government across this country that finds it acceptable to out children and gain public favour.” ❚