The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) will be meeting in Edmonton November 18-20th. Two contentious items are on the agenda.
The first is item 4P, which calls for mandated fully-funded half-time kindergarten programming to exist everywhere in Alberta, and for mandated fully-funded full-time kindergarten to be imposed on children deemed at-risk. This motion has many potential problems.
First of all, there is no good evidence that full-time kindergarten provides any benefits. (See a recent study from the Edmonton Public School Board).
Secondly, mandating kindergarten, especially full day kindergarten, takes autonomy away from parents.
Thirdly, this motion would impose greater limitations and restriction on families deemed 'at risk', potentially poorer families and those from minority communities - and this is clearly unfair.
The second item is 6P, which calls for the creation of specific policies at the school board level dealing with LGBT issues. Our organization supports efforts to combat bullying, including the bullying of LGBT individuals. It is also important the these policies are not created or interpreted to undermine the ability of Christian or other alternative programs to talk about their religious teachings on LGBT issues. The motion being considered by the ASBA does not contain clear safe-guards, protecting the right of alternative programs to teach their teachings about these issues and protecting the right of students to express opinions on contentious issues in a respectful manner. Without the appropriate safeguards, this motion raises some clear concerns.
To see the full details on all of the policies to be discussed by ASBA, click here. Please contact your school board trustees to share your concerns about these issues.