Get ready for election action as roundtables conclude
The public engagement portion of the ATA’s Stand for Education campaign is nearing completion with just two events still to come. A francophone virtual discussion will take place Feb. 16 and an Indigenous community event, also virtual, is scheduled for Feb. 22. Registrations for these are being taken at standforeducation.ca.
These events will be the last in a series of roundtable discussions that have been taking place over the last several months. Teachers, parents, school councils and many others have been sharing their hopeful visions for the future of public education at in-person and virtual roundtable events, and through online submission processes co-ordinated by both the ATA and the Alberta School Councils’ Association. Many ATA locals have also hosted their own roundtables.
The roundtables have been a powerful way to come together with parents and other supporters to help develop a shared vision for a strengthened public education.
We’re excited to see the level of engagement that has taken place and the positive solutions that community members are presenting to support and/or improve public education in Alberta. The focus is clearly on Alberta’s children and the supports they need now and for the future.
Several clear themes have begun to emerge from conversations around the tables across the province. These themes include
- Equity: the education system needs to be more equitable, address students’ mental health and support children who live in poverty;
- Supports: all students should be provided with learning supports, trained professionals, and the technology they need to develop to their full potential, especially children with exceptionalities and those in rural areas where it’s difficult to access these resources;
- Curriculum: a new modern, inclusive curriculum should be developed in consultation with teachers and curriculum experts;
- Investments: the public education system needs sustainable, increased investments, from technology to infrastructure to the hiring of more teachers;
- Class sizes: efforts must be made to reduce class sizes and to address the complexity of children’s learning needs in the classroom.
The final report will summarize the outcomes from the public engagement process and will be released in early March. It will serve as one important tool for engaging with candidates from all political parties.
The path to the election
Over the next few weeks, the Stand for Education campaign will shift from the public engagement roundtable phase into the election period, when we will encourage teachers to actively engage with political candidates and their parties to mobilize, raise their voices and take action so we can make education one of the key issues during the election.
The following is an overview of ATA’s path to the election. More information will be provided over the coming weeks.
There are a few important political dates to note as we count down to the May 29 election. The government resumes sitting in the legislature Feb. 28, and the budget will be released the same day. The spring session will be short; there is no constituency week scheduled before session ends March 30.
In March, the Stand for Education website will be revised to include more information and resources so teachers and the public can stay informed and actively engaged during the election period.
The ATA will produce print materials and launch an advertising campaign as well as a social media campaign: “I stand for public education … do you?” In April, the president will tour the province, and in May, the ATA will host an all-party education debate.
Locals and teachers will be asked to do four main things on the “path to the election”:
1. Mobilize support for the campaign.
- Encourage people to join the campaign and stay informed. Ask them to sign up at standforeducation.ca to receive updates and access resources. Locals can help distribute print materials to teachers, parents and allies.
2. Engage with political candidates.
- Reach out and schedule in-person meetings with candidates from all parties. Ask them where they stand on public education, and tell them why you are committed to strengthening the public education system. Speak out and show your support for the social media campaign.
3. Support and help promote the president’s tour.
- Find a date that the ATA president can join one of your local meetings to share information about the StandForEducation campaign and the upcoming provincial election.
4. Host all candidate education forums.
- Organize all-candidate constituency forums. The ATA has election mobilizers to help with all your provincial election activities. Please reach out to them.
We are only 14 weeks away from the election. Start planning now how you’ll get involved in the election and show your support for the Stand for Education campaign.
ATA Executive Staff Officer
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