EDMONTON - The Alberta provincial government has given the green light to the first new charter school in 13 years after the Black Gold public school division shuttered a rural elementary school in June 2020.
Harold Neth, Chair of Public Interest Alberta’s Education Task Force, says it’s an egregious move towards privatization of public education in a cash-strapped district.
“This is an end run on the Black Gold school board,” said Neth. “They weren’t adequately funded to provide necessary public education in a rural setting with declining enrollment, and now the provincial government is turning around and fully funding a charter school– a private school masquerading as a public school–and allowing a private group to provide boutique programming at public expense.”
Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta echoed Neth’s concerns.
“This provincial government has demonstrated time and time again that their allegiance is to private interests,” said French. “They starve the public education system of necessary funding, and then give public education dollars to the private sector. The value of public education is that it serves every child and helps them develop their full potential. Charter schools can choose and reject students at-will, and are not subject to the crucial accountability and control elements of democratically-elected school boards. They exist to serve private interests with full public funding.”
“Public education is a cornerstone of democracy,” added Neth. “The tired, ideological, market approach of fostering competition and privatization is simply inappropriate to educating children. The result will be yet more undermining of public education and more inequities in children’s education and achievement.”