1. Let's spread the word!
As we prepare for an anticipated 2019 provincial election, it is more urgent and important than ever to spread the word regarding the reality of what is happening in Alberta schools.
We need you, the grassroots citizens of Alberta, to make that happen.
While many in the media continue to misrepresent what is happening in K-12 classrooms in spite of numerous complaints from citizens (see here, here, and here for just a few past examples), Parents for Choice in Education is dedicated to working tirelessly and relentlessly to break through the false narratives and superficial talking points and expose how changes in K-12 schools are accomplishing the very opposite of what has been marketed and promised to the public.
What are we currently facing in Alberta?
Children are endangered when the parent-child bond is undermined, secrecy is enforced, supports for children are narrowed and accountability and oversight are eliminated.
Freedom is endangered when power and authority are concentrated into the hands of the Education Minister, and autonomy is stripped from professionals and local governance structures.
Respect for diversity is endangered when intimidation and coercion are used to enforce conformity and bullying is not solved, but merely shifted onto a different group.
This is the stark and harsh reality of what we face.
But it need not stay this way.
Just like individuals have worked persistently and strategically over a long period of time to push for what we are currently seeing in our K-12 education system, so too it is effort, hard work and persistence that will be necessary to change this trajectory.
We need you, the grassroots citizens of Alberta, to make that happen.
Currently we have nearly 12,000 email addresses on our e-mail list.
If each person reading this newsletter forwards the link via text, e-mail or messaging to those they know, encouraging their friends and family to sign up on our homepage parentchoice.ca, then thousands more will receive important monthly newsletters, alerts and exclusive invites to presentations in their area, delivered directly to their inbox.
Help increase and expand the reach of this important information so we can continue to inform, engage, organize and mobilize citizens on a provincial scale and make a strong impact, especially as we prepare to soon head to the polls.
2. Public outrage continues to grow after threats by Education Minister
This past month, Education Minister David Eggen continued his aggressive bullying of approximately 4,000 Alberta students from 28 private schools, issuing a ministerial order requiring these schools to replace their own “Safe and Caring” policies with a government policy being imposed upon them against their will.
Increasing numbers of citizens across the province are publicly voicing their outrage over the Education Minister’s targeted oppression of faith-based schools and the real and negative consequences which would result for everyone if the Education Minister defunds these schools.
At a recent forum representing Alberta’s 69 counties and municipal districts, rural Alberta leaders were extremely vocal, according to a November 22nd CBC article:
NDP policies were slammed as attacks on Christian faith by political leaders from rural Alberta attending a fall convention in Edmonton Thursday.
At a Rural Municipalities of Alberta association forum with provincial ministers, Josh Knelson, reeve of Mackenzie County, told Education Minister David Eggen he takes the threat of withholding funding from private faith-based schools "very personally."
"I feel that it's an attack on Christianity and all faith-based believers," Knelson said. [READ MORE]
Citizens across the province are also speaking up through letters to the editor and social media to make their voices heard. Some excerpts follow below and we are grateful to these newspapers for publishing these important voices of concern.
Cochrane Eagle, November 29th: On November 14th, Minister Eggen upped the ante by issuing a Ministerial Order demanding that the schools scrap their so-called ‘non-compliant’, faith-based policies and replace them with a Ministry prescribed policy adhering to his personal perspective and ideology.
… You don’t have to be a Christian to understand the serious implications of these totalitarian actions by the Minister of Education. [READ MORE]
Barrhead Leader, November 20th: Why are Christian schools being told to remove these faith-based statements? These schools are safe and caring and are achieving excellence in academics…
This fight is not about GSA’s or safe and caring policies... It’s about controlling what the youth of the province are being taught and keeping it in line with whatever Minister Eggen believes is good. [READ MORE]
Lethbridge Herald, November 24th: The Alberta public needs to know how desperately this issue affects every single taxpayer.
If private schools are defunded, many parents will no longer be able to afford to send their children to private schools (we are talking $8,000-10,000 per student).
There are approximately 7,700 children in the Pallister district alone. Adding an extra 1,500 children would mean a 20 per cent increase. Many of these students will be going to rural schools that are already over capacity and relying on portable classrooms.
…. As a teacher myself, I can assure you that taking on extra students is stressful. We are talking less resources and one-on-one time with students, particularly ones struggling with learning disabilities. [READ MORE]
Roxanne Van Herk in a Facebook post shared over 1,000 times: Many of the people I know who send their kids to private schools simply cannot afford to send their kids to the same schools if they are defunded. The private schools that are within 45 minutes of me which are facing defunding have ~1500 students enrolled currently. If even half of these students left the private schools and were enrolled in the public schools in the area, it would completely overwhelm and overtax the public schools' resources.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that defunding independent schools is going to cost the public purse dearly. And by public purse, I mean YOU, the taxpayer. [READ MORE]
As many people are aware, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has launched a constitutional court challenge against the Alberta government.
On December 3rd, the Justice Centre will again be in court in order to appeal the Court of Queen’s Bench decision in June which rejected the application for an injunction.
3. Harmful influencers: Denounced or invited as special guests?
In March 2017, disturbing links to sexually graphic material were discovered on a government-funded and recommended resource intended for K-12 children.
Within 3 weeks, the entire section of links was removed – a clear admission that the materials were considered inappropriate for children.
However, significant questions remain.
- Why has Education Minister David Eggen never publicly denounced those responsible for this sexually graphic material?
- Why would the NDP invite representatives from the same organization responsible for this inappropriate resource to stand with the Education Minister at a celebratory Bill 24 press conference, only 8 months after this severe violation of public trust?
- Why would the Education Minister continue to allow this same organization to retain any influence and access to Alberta's K-12 children?
The NDP claim their new education laws are “safe and caring”.
But how is it “safe and caring” to pass laws which enforce secrecy and allow sexual content to be provided in K-12 clubs or associated activities without parents knowing?
To learn more about the new laws governing Alberta schools and how they endanger children, access our PCE Toolkit resource.
To learn more about the sexually graphic material, go to this comprehensive timeline.
IN THE NEWS
Included below are a number of recently published articles, related to our advocacy toward an excellent, quality-oriented, choice-driven education system which recognizes parental authority.
Edmonton Journal, 2018.11.26
"In the face of calls for a unified public education system in Alberta, Catholic school boards and dioceses have created a new organization to counter the push for their schools' demise." [READ MORE]
Edmonton Journal, 2018.11.12
"Alberta should gradually double or triple the number of students enrolled in independent schools to foster innovation and reduce the 'monopoly' of teachers’ associations, says a new position paper from a faith-based think-tank." [READ MORE]
Hamilton Spectator, 2018.11.04
While those who oppose school choice seek to strip funding here in Alberta, other provinces recognize the excellence of independent schools and are pushing their governments to support parents, who pay education taxes, to have those funds follow their children to any location they choose. [READ MORE]
NewsTalk 770 with Danielle Smith, 2018.11.16
“...[Alberta] schools are restricted from providing information to ALL parents, irrespective of demonstrable necessity. There is no demonstrated case-by-case basis. And so, what rule is in effect? Is it the opinion of the Minister or the Constitution of this country?” [LISTEN HERE]
Lethbridge Herald, 2018.11.20
[Principal Marc Slingerland] said he rejects the premise that faith-based schools are somehow “unsafe” for any of the kids which attend them.
“It’s unfortunate it has come to this,” he said. “We share with Alberta Education a desire to educate Alberta students in a safe and caring environment. Our results, which Alberta Education has, show we have done that successfully for nearly 40 years now. It is unfortunate the minister has chosen to pursue this course.” [READ MORE]