It is becoming increasingly clear the Alberta government’s new Education Act will be re-introduced this fall, but will be different in certain respects from the previous 2 versions of the act which did not pass.
The version of the Education Act introduced this past spring included sections which were very troubling to those who believe in school choice – especially a section which could have prevented faith-based and other alternative programs from actually talking about their teachings on key social and moral issues.
The PC government tells us that they have been responsive to what they’ve heard, and we are still waiting to find out exactly what the new legislation will say.
Meanwhile, some of Alberta’s opposition political parties are already drawing lines in the sand. Brian Mason and the Alberta NDP oppose school choice. Mason has referred to any potential changes to the act as “pandering to religious minorities”. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith believes in school choice and has made clear that her party will oppose the education act unless the concerns of many parents about the anti-school choice measures are addressed.
The ball is now in the court of the PC government – will they stand in support of their historic legacy of building one of the most successful and choice-oriented education systems in North America, or will they cave in to pressure from the NDP?
The NDP and their allies have always wanted to shut down any kind of alternative programming, but many PC MLAs will know that the work they have put in in the past to create a choice-oriented education system has allowed many students to succeed.
Let’s hope they do not undo their past good work.
For more information, see coverage in the Calgary Herald: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Tories+confident+education+will+passed/7406533/story.html