New legislation would ensure that students and communities benefit from more consistent and clear rules in the education system.
The School Amendment Act would pave the way for new professional standards for principals and superintendents, which would ensure that they are equipped to lead modern, inclusive schools that are carefully administered and able to prepare every student for success.
Additional proposed amendments to the School Act include:
- Authorizing the minister to establish standards for education service agreements between First Nations and school boards to help close the achievement gap for Indigenous students.
- Specifying that students must be five years of age by Dec. 31 of the school year to join kindergarten so students entering school are ready to succeed.
- Revising the process for establishing a separate school district, reducing confusion and building more support for the school district within communities.
- Ensuring the government can provide clear and updated transportation eligibility criteria before the 2018-19 school year.
“The School Act has served Alberta’s students well for almost three decades, and I am confident that - as a result of these amendments - it will continue to do so for many years. If proclaimed, these amendments would further align this legislation with our government’s education priorities, including increasing student success, ensuring equitable access to education and closing the gap between First Nations students and all other students in the province.” David Eggen, Minister of Education
Other amendments, which are largely technical or administrative, are also included in this bill. These proposed amendments would update the School Act to reflect current practice or align with other legislation.
“Modernizing the School Act will help school authorities to provide learning experiences for students that are rooted in basics and reflective of research-proven teaching strategies and advances in use of technology. This will provide continued assurance for parents and communities about the strength of Alberta's education system.” Chris MacPhee, president of the College of Alberta School Superintendents
“The Alberta School Boards Association is pleased to see the input provided by school boards during the recent consultation process reflected in many of these proposed amendments. The establishment of a common age of entry for students entering kindergarten, the introduction of standard requirements for Education Service Agreements and the removal of the school transportation distance eligibility limit are all examples of ways in which these amendments will provide greater certainty and consistency across the province and support for Alberta families.” Mary Martin, president of the Alberta School Boards Association
“Our schools, classrooms and teaching practices have changed significantly over the past 20 years. Updated practice standards will ensure that teachers have clear, consistent and modern benchmarks to guide their practice and inform their professional growth. We eagerly await the approval of all three practice standards, which will serve to enhance public confidence in the quality of Alberta’s schools.” Greg Jeffery, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association
If passed, the majority of amendments would come into force immediately, while some amendments would be implemented later. For example, the common age of entry into kindergarten would be implemented in Sept. 2020 and the certification processes for aspiring superintendents and principals would take effect in 2019, with a grandfathered approach in place for existing leaders.