Blog | January 19, 2012

By Ben Proulx, The Fort Saskatchewan RecordAlberta's new upcoming Education Act gets a failing grade from some people involved with schooling in the province.The government announced a 10-point plan last week, saying it would seek public consultation before introducing the bill this spring."Albertans want the best possible learning opportunities and experiences for our students," said Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk ."Government's commitment to revised legislation and this 10-point plan will make a real difference for students today and into the future."A provincial advocacy board, Public Interest Alberta (PIA), claims the 10 step plan is not effective."(Lukaszuk's) new 10-point plan for education is more than a disappointment," said Larry Booi, chairperson of PIA. "It's actually a step sideways, rather than forward, at a time when we really need clear actions on education in this province."The 10-point plan will examine:

  • Reducing student travel time to less than one hour and enabling students to use technology while they travel;
  • Allow high school students to earn post-secondary credits
  • Update school design standards to support community use;
  • Co-ordinating building playgrounds and new schools;
  • Reduce the administrative burden for charter schools;
  • Support First Nations students by working closer with the federal government;
  • Create a voice for parents in the educaltional system;
  • Increase the transparency, clarity and accountability;
  • Reviewing Provincial Achievement Tests, and;
  • Examining the requirements of full-day Kindergarten.
Booi said the areas are important, but no actions are suggested, including whether Kindergarten should be a full-day endeavour. He also suggested a stronger voice for parents is a mask to ensure no true outcome will be attained.Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of PIA, said Lukaszuk wasted an opportunity to make a difference."We've had two years of extremely extensive and effective consultation under the previous minister," he said.Tony Sykora, Elk Island Catholic Schools chairperson, said he understood the need for further evaluation."We've got a brand new education minister who really wants to get in tune with what this proposed act is. I talked to him…and his very direct take is that, when you put a piece of legislation of this magnitude into effect, it's likely that piece of legislation is going to be there for 10, 15, maybe even 20 years."You want to take the opportunity to get it right."By Ben Proulx, The Fort Saskatchewan Record This article was published in the Fort Saskatchewan Record on January 18, 2012. Read the full article on the Record website.