Alberta's new Education Act passed the legislature in the wee hours of this morning. It had the support of government and Wildrose MLAs, and was opposed by Liberal and NDP MLAs. (Liberal and NDP MLAs cited the removal of contentious language in Section 16 of Bill 2 as the key basis for their opposition).
PCE had called for a few amendments to ensure that school choice would be protected. While we are disappointed that the government chose not to adopt our proposed amendments, we are pleased this version of the bill did not contain many of the direct attacks on school choice that the previous version of the bill did.
This is not a complete victory - there rarely are complete victories in politics - but the removal of the very troubling sections which were in Bill 2 is a victory none the less. Further, it demonstrates the power and influence that we as a school choice movement can have.
Now that this act has passed, there is much more work to be done. The act gives powers to school boards, and we need to make sure that those powers are used properly and not misused. Sections of the act will be implemented through regulations - regulations that also could enhance or detract from school choice.
We will continue to be vigilant about how the implementation of this new bill affects parental authority and school choice. For the time being, there is cause for some modest celebration, and also for continuing vigilance.