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Minister meets with ATA president

September 23, 2014 ATA News Staff

ATA President Mark Ramsankar discusses teachers’ concerns with Education Minister
Gordon Dirks at a meeting at Barnett House in Edmonton on Sept. 17.

Teachers have high expectations for new education minister Gordon Dirks and look forward to working with him following a productive introductory meeting on Sept. 17, says ATA President Mark Ramsankar.

The two got acquainted during a meeting at Barnett House.

While there were no commitments or promises made, Ramsankar came away from the meeting with a feeling that Dirks has a sound grasp of the issues facing education.

“It seems like he gets it,” Ramsankar said. “He understands that any decisions made in the education realm need to translate into improvement in the classroom, which is what we as an organization believe as well.”

Dirks will need to rely on his past roles as a teacher, principal and Calgary Board of Education chair to find ways to reach out to teachers and the profession and to repair the damage that has been done, Ramsankar added.

“We are prepared to work with him on advancing public education in Alberta. A strong collaborative relationship between education ministries and the teaching profession is the hallmark of all global leaders in education,” Ramsankar said.

Ramsankar said his message for the minister focused on three key areas.

“Government needs to refocus on improving teachers’ conditions of practice,” he said. “The 2013 legislated framework was supposed to improve teacher workload, and its implementation has not been a priority for government. We also need to discuss the issues raised by last week’s report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Inclusive Education, and we need to address the issue of inadequate and unpredictable education funding.” ❚

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