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PEC tables motion of non-confidence in education minister

August 21, 2020 ATA News Staff

A motion of non-confidence in Education Minister Adriana LaGrange could be put to teachers across the province if the government’s current efforts to ensure a safe return to school are frustrated.

The resolution of non-confidence was moved by delegates from the floor of the Aug. 13–14 Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) but was referred to the ATA’s elected leadership when the meeting was adjourned before the vote could be held. All outstanding resolutions from ARA were reviewed by PEC at an emergent meeting Aug. 20.

PEC decided not to render a final decision on the motion of non-confidence at this time and tabled the motion to a future meeting.

“I was pleased by the minister’s willingness to meet with us this week and to listen to teachers’ concerns, but we still need the government to take actions to improve the plans for school re-entry,” said ATA president Jason Schilling.

Schilling said teachers at ARA expressed their lack of confidence in the minister but also expressed a clear need to work with the ministry to bring about a better plan for returning to school.

“Ensuring schools reopen as safely as possible is our top priority right now, and we need to be able to talk with the minister to get results on that,” Schilling said.

Tabling the resolution allows PEC to bring it back at any future council meeting, when they could deal with it in a number of ways, including referring it to a vote of all members.

Unfinished business

Council also dealt with six other outstanding resolutions from ARA, including ones on school re-entry, curriculum and funding for outreach schools.

One motion on delaying the start of school was adopted as “action taken” and another resolution on school restart was not adopted, as the intent of the resolution was addressed by other policies already approved by ARA.

Resolutions affirmed by Council:

  • Be it resolved that the Association demand that those advising on curriculum include Alberta K–12 classroom teachers who are representative and supportive of the diverse communities in Alberta.
  • Be it resolved that the Association urge the Government of Alberta to reinstate the per-site grant for outreach schools.

Resolutions referred to staff for study:

  • Be it resolved that the Association engage immediately in discussion with Alberta Health and the chief medical officer of health about the availability of a rapid diagnostic test (under one minute) in schools to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in students and staff.
  • Be it resolved that the Association urge the Government of Alberta to investigate the proliferation of programs offering “classroom settings” delivering curriculum to students in the fall outside of the purview of the Education Act, as they are not under the supervision of a school board or operating under a charter approved by the minister of education.