EDMONTON - In response to Minister of Education LaGrange’s announcement of fracturing the Alberta Teachers’ Association, Terry Price, the president of Public Interest Alberta and former president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, issued the following statement:
“Shame on the UCP for their exploitation of a tragedy to further their political goals. To use the abuse of Alberta students as cover for their continuation of the reckless agenda of attacks against public services is a new low for them.
“This is another egregious example of how low this UCP government will stoop to undermine one of the best public education systems in Canada and in the world. The goal of privatizers, like this government, is to undermine confidence in the public systems in order to create support for privatisation. In this case, they are misrepresenting a fifteen-year-old example of inappropriate actions of one teacher to create and inflame fear and mistrust by parents and the general public so that they can continue to push their privatization agenda. As we’ve seen across our public services, the result will be quality services for the wealthy and lesser services for everyone else.
“Separating teacher discipline from the professional organizations that support and represent teachers erodes the very culture of schools that have made Alberta such a success story. It will create unhealthy environments at the school level by destroying the trust that is critical to creating healthy spaces for teachers to work and for children to learn. Creating a healthy school requires employers and employees alike to be working collegially in the interests of students. Disciplinary bodies such as the B.C. College of Teachers and similar models do not garner the respect of the professionals within the system and, therefore, do not promote healthy teaching and learning environments.
“If the UCP truly cared about students, they would fund classrooms properly to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-standing problem of overcrowded classrooms, and lack of support for students with diverse needs.
“We at Public Interest Alberta are proud to stand with the victims of abuse. We stand in solidarity with the Alberta Teachers’ Association who swiftly took action to remove the teacher from the profession. And we stand against this devastating direction from the UCP, for the good of students and teachers in our province.”