EDMONTON - United Conservative Party (UCP) Leader Jason Kenney announced his party’s K-12 education platform. Despite the platform containing several points, issues affecting classroom conditions were not presented as priorities.
“It’s disappointing to see the UCP education platform ignoring the most important issue facing our students – classroom conditions,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “With only a brief mention of class sizes and no plan to address that problem, and no mention of the need to increase classroom supports for children with complex needs, it is difficult to have confidence in the UCP’s ability to manage Alberta’s education system.”
While no money to improve classroom conditions appeared to be on the table, Kenney pledged to continue Alberta’s generous subsidies to private schools.
“Private school subsidies are a waste of public dollars,” said French. “It’s unacceptable that there is no money to improve classroom conditions in public schools, yet these private interests continue to get handouts, including the most elite private schools that serve only the wealthy. It’s the wrong priority for Alberta’s classrooms.”
Kenney also proposed changes that would allow an increase in the presence of charter schools.
“Mr. Kenney’s proposal to take the cap off the number of charter schools goes in exactly the wrong direction,” added French. “Charter schools are in reality private schools, fully funded by public money, but not governed by democratically-elected school boards. We should be bringing charter schools into our public systems rather than expanding them; they are quite simply another form of privatization by stealth.”