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A quick look beyond COVID

Off Script

October 27, 2020 Jason Schilling, ATA President

Recently I have spent time providing verbal updates to teachers via Zoom at their local council meetings. When I address teachers in this setting, I like to spend part of my time looking back at what transpired over the summer, not only regarding the ATA’s advocacy around school re-entry, but also about other concerns teachers have about curriculum and the proclamation of the Choice in Education Act.

Though COVID has been a huge focus of late (rightfully so), we must not lose sight of the other initiatives being put forth by the government that mean to undermine and erode public education in Alberta. Not only do we have concerns about the curriculum subject-matter experts being employed by Alberta Education, we also have concerns about the lack of transparency in curriculum development and its eventual field testing. We are also mindful of issues around Bill 32, the labour bill that was passed in the summer, and its potential implications for the ATA. Another concern of Provincial Executive Council are the upcoming deliberations of central table bargaining.

I also predict that we will see further efforts by those opposed to public education to drive a wedge between teachers and the public. We must not let them. Last fall, I published an open letter in several provincial newspapers about how teachers will defend public education in Alberta because it is something we believe in. This year will be one like we have never seen, but if we stay focused on what matters most, we will weather this storm together. As always, colleagues, stay safe.

I welcome your comments. Contact me at

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