ATA News

We are strong when we stand together

The ATA just held its 107th Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) in Calgary, and the assembly continues to be one of the best demonstrations of democracy I have been privileged to witness. Hundreds of teachers come from across the entire province to debate policy, honour colleagues and to approve a budget for the next year. 

I have talked to many people about ARA, and they often wonder what it is all about and why it is important. The what is easy to describe as the ATA is a policy-driven organization, and our policy tells our members and the public what we value and believe in. This policy then helps set the direction and vision of the ATA, and that’s why it’s important. 

This last ARA was especially important for several reasons, the first being that the assembly laid the groundwork for advancing a vision that sees the ATA starting significant work on diversity, equity and inclusion. The work this past weekend will benefit our current members and generations to come, and that is special. 

Second, the assembly approved a budget for next year that will strengthen the ATA’s ability to provide services to our members, such as professional development and teacher employment services. The budget will also ensure the ATA is financially ready for the upcoming year, which will be a challenging one as central table bargaining ramps up.

Finally, I spoke at ARA about how public education is in a crisis due to a chronic lack of funding, and delegates shared many stories about how the lack of funding is impacting their students, classrooms and themselves. These stories were powerful and personal, and showed how teachers care deeply about making sure their students get the best education possible. 

But teachers simply cannot do it anymore. The cracks are showing, and the government must address this crisis immediately. Telling the stories of our classrooms is important and will be vital next year, so I encourage each of you to continue to talk to your networks about the importance of public education. 

Our Annual Representative Assembly is vital to our unity as an Association, and I left this year’s assembly with a feeling of gratitude for the delegates who gave up their long weekend to do this work. I also left with a feeling of pride as the delegates showed that when we stand together united, we stand together in strength. ❚ 

Cartoon image of Jason Schilling
Jason Schilling

ATA President