Media Release

Teachers disappointed by Assembly’s defeat of Bill 202

Alberta Legislature dome with blue provincial flag

Teachers are disappointed that the Alberta legislature defeated a private member’s bill that would have brought a return to public reporting of class size data, says Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) president Jason Schilling. The Government of Alberta stopped the practice of publicly reporting on class size data in 2019 at a time when the data was showing years of unprecedented growth in Alberta class sizes.

“Alberta’s students are currently learning in the largest and most complex classrooms we have ever seen. The previous government introduced a new funding model that cut supports for complex student needs and stopped funding the full rates of enrolment growth. At the same time, it also stopped reporting the exact data that would track the impacts of these funding choices.”

—ATA president Jason Schilling

While class size funding is no longer reported, tracking of employment levels shows that the hiring of teachers in recent years has failed to keep up with rapid student population growth. Through last school year, student enrolment rose by 25,000 students since 2018, while the teacher supply was cut by 600 positions during the same time. Another 20,000 students are expected to be in schools this year.

“Per-pupil funding has been cut by 10 per cent in the past five years. Teachers know that this has resulted in significant class size growth. Every time we add more kids in the system without fully funding them, we are cutting that funding rate further and further. Albertans deserve to know the facts about the current state of classrooms.”

—ATA president Jason Schilling

Bill 202, the Education (Class Size and Composition) Amendment Act, sponsored by Calgary-Beddington MLA Amanda Chapman, called for the annual reporting of class size and composition data; the establishment of provincial standards for class size and composition; and the establishment of a Commission on Learning Excellence to look at class size, composition and other educational issues.

The bill was defeated at second reading in the legislature this afternoon. Schilling says the bill was just calling for information and transparency, and he would like to see the minister of education bring back class size reporting even without the mandate proposed by Bill 202.

“Adequate support for public education should not be a partisan or political issue. Regardless of political stripe, Albertans across the board want to see well-funded classrooms.”

—ATA president Jason Schilling

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, supports teachers’ professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.