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Parent group pledges to continue advocacy efforts

May 31, 2016 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

An advocacy group formed last year when education funding was in jeopardy is pledging to continue its efforts.

After accepting the Alberta Teachers’ Association’s Public Education Award on behalf of Support Our Students, executive member Carolyn Blasetti said there is still much work to be done to make the public education system more equitable.

“There are still have and have-not schools in Alberta,” Blasetti said. “Albertans can do better and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to strengthen public education in Alberta.”

Blasetti is part of a group of concerned Calgary parents that formed the advocacy group in 2015 in reaction to a proposed provincial budget that did not include funding for growth in student enrolment. The group’s efforts included a social media initiative called Students of Alberta, which highlighted the diversity of experiences in Alberta’s public education system and encouraged dialogue among students and their families. The group also created a video series highlighting the crowded classrooms in many Alberta schools.

In introducing the group at the Annual Representative Assembly, Provincial Executive Council vice-president Greg Jeffery praised the video series, which included images of students holding signs that read “My school has no music teacher” and “I can’t go to the school across the street. It’s full.”

“They truly do exemplify support for public education,” Jeffery said.

He also commended the group for its efforts to meet with Education Minister David Eggen to press upon him the importance of equal access, reduction or elimination of school fees, class size, and funding.

In her acceptance speech, Blasetti emphasized that the group’s commitment is as strong now as it was when it formed.

“We’re proud and staunch supporters of a well-funded equitable, accessible and barrier-free public education system,” she said. ❚

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