Healthy competition between public & private schools is in the best interest of our children; and the choices that are offered respect the diversity of backgrounds, needs, and interests of AB families. This government would be wise to respect that. In the past, Alberta built one of the best education systems in the world; and championing choice is in no way meant to disparage the quality of the public system. Having served as an educator and administrator at all levels in it for well over a decade, I support it; however, since I appreciate that we do not live in a “one-size fits all world”, I also fully support private, charter, and home-schooling options that provide specialized programming including special needs, languages, religions, athletics, and much more. Removing the option for parents to choose from these programs for their child does not strengthen our education system—it weakens it!
This proposal flies in the face of our hard-won Alberta culture. Our province has a long & proud tradition of offering parents & students a wide variety of educational choices; and we must ensure that we protect these choices for AB families. Last spring, my colleagues and I were proud to stand with our Progressive Conservative Interim Leader, Ric McIver, who received unanimous support from all parties for his motion which affirms the Legislative Assembly’s commitment to maintaining the choice in education that has been available to Alberta parents for decades. The support from all sides of the House is a testament to the importance of that choice; and of a parent’s right to educate their child as they see fit. It’s one of the cornerstones of our education system, and is an invaluable contributing factor as to why Alberta has been such a great place to raise a family. Our Progressive Conservative caucus is committed to holding this government to the promise they made to Alberta families on maintaining choice in education; I just hope the NDP is up to the challenge—for the sake of our provincial finances, as well as the hopes and dreams of Alberta’s leaders of tomorrow!