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April 9, 2019

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Regarding the Edmonton Journal article “NDP promises 70 new and modernized schools, 1,000 new teachers and staff”

Andrew Clapperton
It's nice to see a party with a real plan for education.

Laurie Dirsa
This is wonderful, but where oh where is the cash coming from?

Andrea MacKay
Campaign promises are what my grandma would call “pie crust promises”: easily made, easily broken. We need to address the economy before larger debts are incurred.

Letters to the Editor

It’s time to focus on positive solutions

In response to the Feb. 26 editorial (“The threat to public education is real”), I would like to point out that there is no threat to public education, but rather a wake-up call to adapt. The editor used the phrase “clear and present danger to public education,” but there is no danger, rather an opportunity to innovate.

There is a perception that public education is being attacked under the guise of school choice and parental rights and as teachers we need to be vigilant and protect the public school system. Ironically though, as a teacher in a Catholic division that is funded by public dollars, the threat to terminate the separate system is not coming from school choice and parental rights advocates.

In a five-year spread dating from 2014 to 2018, private education enrolment increased by 6.9 per cent, on the heels of the public system, which made gains of 7.1 per cent. That is only a difference of 0.2 percentage points. The separate system, despite the efforts from special interest groups to dismantle it, led the growth by 9.5 per cent.

When we speak of alternative schooling, there is a perception that it’s creating a two-tier system: elites versus the most vulnerable. If we refer to the statistics on Alberta Education (2012–2016) you will note that charter schools, which are publicly funded, increased their special needs student population by 48.6 per cent, private/independent schools by 37 per cent, while the public system indicates a 28.8 per cent increase.

To conclude, parents are exercising their fundamental right to educate their children as they see fit and are seeking effective alternative options. It is time to come off the defence and strategize on solutions that positively impact the learning goals of all young Albertans. ❚

Janis Nett
Grade 5 teacher
Red Deer Catholic School District

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