A new web tool created by the ATA enables users to send an email directly to their MLA by providing some basic information.
The ATA has developed a new tool to help teachers, parents and concerned Albertans send emails directly to their MLAs to express concerns about the government’s attacks on public education.
The online campaign enables users to choose from various prewritten messages or write their own and enter their contact information. Based on their postal code, the system will automatically send the email to the appropriate MLA.
“We heard that teachers, parents and people across Alberta are fed up with this government, and that they want to take action,” said ATA president Jason Schilling. “We hope that providing this tool will make it easier for Albertans to have their voices heard, and show MLAs how important public education is to the people of this province.”
The campaign is one of a number of strategies the Association has implemented since the beginning of 2022 in response to the government’s Covid response, funding cuts, the draft curriculum, proposed changes to the structure of the ATA as well as other verbal attacks on teachers made by the premier and other MLAs.
The strategies include behind-the-scenes advocacy work with a government relations firm, extensive work with the media to publish articles and editorials, social media content, a television and online advertising campaign, and myriad member engagement activities. A current online campaign, called Stand for Education, that asks the public to add their name to a petition asking the premier and minister to prioritize public education funding in the 2022 provincial budget, has garnered close to 30,000 signatures from across Alberta.
“Teachers are exhausted. Over the past two years, they have shown up for Alberta’s students to help them continue to learn and grow through the pandemic,” Schilling said. “But despite how tired they are, they have told us they want to take meaningful action to advocate for themselves to this government. That’s how important public education and their students are to them.”
Although many teachers have said they’ve already contacted their MLA, Schilling encourages them to use the tool and keep sending emails, saying that the greater the quantity of emails, the harder it is for MLAs to ignore.
“Advocacy is not easy. It takes time, grit and dogged determination, and although teachers don’t have a lot of time, they have shown this province time and time again that they stand up for public education,” Schilling said. “They showed up for the 2002 strikes, almost exactly 20 years ago, and their actions made a difference to that budget in 2002.”
“If we continue to speak up, we can make change. And it’s the Association’s job to help teachers advocate, so they can focus on making a difference in the lives of their students.” ❚