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UCP tries to silence parent criticism through school council funding cut

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Re: Funding cut hurts school councils, May 9 

The Alberta School Councils’ Association (under various names) has been in existence for over 93 years. The association was founded and still operates on the premise that “… parents are seen as partners in education and they are vital to student success.”

By the minister of education reducing the Alberta School Councils’ Association’s funding from $650,000 a year in 2020, to $15,000 a year, they are effectively castrating the association to make sure that they do not have a strong and united voice in the education of the children in the 1,500 schools throughout the province. By offering each school council a paltry $500 (maximum) as replacement funding, the UCP is blatantly using a “divide and conquer” tactic to silence opposition to flawed curriculum, underfunded education, reductions in capital funding, etc.

The UCP continually touts itself as a grassroots party. What could be more grassroots than listening to duly elected school council presidents, vice-presidents, secretary-treasurers, and school council members at an AGM of the association? These are parents who have worked diligently and offered countless hours to support the learning of their children by working with teachers, support staff and school-based administration. Shutting them out by cutting funding to the ASCA is such a transparent move to silence parents.

Let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with money. This has everything to do with opposition to UCP policy. Alberta Education estimates that there will be 744,809 students (ECS-12) in classrooms this year. The $650,000 funding cut amounts to approximately 95 cents per student. This is about reducing parents’ voices from a loud and unified force to a whimper.

Alberta Education’s plan to offer an olive branch through the formation of a new “Minister’s Parent Advisory Council” made up of 40 handpicked parents is laughable. The structure for feedback already exists. It is called the ASCA. And it will probably tell Alberta Education some things it doesn’t want to hear!

Peter Teppler, Calgary


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