Contract negotiations are ongoing between the provincial government, school boards, and the Alberta Teacher's Association. Teacher compensation is not a central focus of our organization, but plays an important role in the stability of Alberta's education system. The government has to decide how much to invest in teachers' salaries, how much to invest in new school construction, and how much to invest in classrooms and programs. Alberta faces an escalating deficit. These negotiations could prove quite difficult, as the government seeks to focus more resources on new schools and programs while also maintaining spending in other areas.
In our view, school choice is one way that the government can reduce costs in education. Choice leads to innovation, which can lead to more and better programs being offered at a lower cost. If students can move between schools, then more programs can be available to students even if each school is not able to offer them.
We hope that, in the context of these salary negotiations, a deal is reached that is fair to teachers and also allows investments to be made in schools and in educational programs. We also hope that the government will take steps this fall to increase school choice.