What can parents and concerned citizens do to advocate for system changes?

A parent’s freedom to access an education setting that best meets their child’s needs is substantially undermined by several systemic issues:

  • Overall lack of safeguards to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • School board policies forcing staff to purposefully withhold information from parents about their own children.
  • Provincial law forcing all principals in Alberta to permit student clubs and activities without adequate measures for safety or oversight.

When it comes to these system-level problems, there are four main actions you can take:

  1. Show your support by adding your name to the “Parental Consent is Key” open letter demanding practical, common-sense solutions that would resolve many gaps and provide transparency and accountability, ensuring increased levels of safety for Alberta students. This open letter is addressed to Alberta’s Education Minister and all the boards and associations governing public, separate, private and charter schools in our province.

  2. Contact your locally-elected school board trustees to ask them directly whether they have policies in place which force school staff to withhold information from parents, including whether the following clause is contained in any of their policies: “The principal is responsible for ensuring that notification, if any, respecting a voluntary student organization or an activity…  is limited to the fact of the establishment of the organization or the holding of the activity”. 

    If the answer is yes then it means information may be withheld from you about your own K-12 child and you can demand changes be made to ensure increased safety, oversight and accountability. PCE has compiled all the contact information for public and separate school trustees on our page “Connect with your elected representatives”.

  3. Contact your MLA and the Education Minister to demand changes be made to provincial law in relation to section 35.1 of the Education Act, especially because the lack of safeguards puts students and principals at risk. The imposition of this law on all schools also undermines local decision-making and school board autonomy. Visit our “Laws & policies that strip parental rights” page for more details.

    Contact information is available on our page “Connect with your elected representatives”.

  4. Join our Citizen Action Team and have access to valuable and informative webinars throughout the year which will support you in maximizing your impact through taking specific actions at key windows of opportunity. Contact John Hilton O'Brien, PCE’s Executive Director, for more information at [email protected] 

The reality is that all of us have a voice and a vote when it comes to how our education system is being governed, regardless of whether we have a child currently in the K-12 education system or not. 

That means we all have a responsibility to advocate for changes at the system-level to help build a K-12 education system that is more responsive to children’s needs and parental concerns.

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