To advocate for an excellent, quality-oriented, and choice-driven education system which recognizes parental authority.
What We Believe
- PCE believes that the authority over the education of a child rightly belongs to the parent(s) (or legal guardians) of that child. We affirm the importance of Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” Parents may, and often do, delegate the delivery of education to government entities, but the nature and degree of that delegation is theirs to determine.
- PCE believes that school choice gives unique opportunities to students who can, at the appropriate age and with the permission and support of their parents, make education decisions based on their planned career path, values, and preferences.
- PCE believes that parents are drivers of quality in education. Because of the natural and permanent tie that parents have with their own children, parents have a greater interest in ensuring the quality of their children’s education than anyone else (save for the children themselves). Parent involvement and parent choice will continue to ensure excellence and quality in education.
- PCE believes that choice itself is a driver of quality; since people with choice will choose the options they perceive to be better. That competition to be ‘chosen’ will drive improvements in quality.
- PCE believes that good quality programming is typically available within traditional public schools in Alberta, and that enhanced choice within the public system as well as between the traditional public system and other education systems will improve quality, across the educational landscape.
- PCE believes that most parents make choices about their children’s education based on serious thought and sound analysis of the pros and cons of the options that are available. In any event, parents are better positioned to understand their child’s best interest than politicians, bureaucrats, or special interest groups.
- PCE believes that the freedom of parents to direct the education of their children is more important than the level of government funding, if any, that may follow the parents’ choice. At the same time, parents can reasonably and rightfully expect that their tax dollars will be available to them when their children are in school, regardless of the educational choices they make. For many parents and for alternative programs, sufficient funding is often an important enabler of freedom. Funding ensures that socio-economic status is not a barrier for those wishing to attend alternative programs. Funding also allows alternative programs to provide the required support to all students, including students with special needs.
- PCE believes that standardized testing is an important tool for parents to get information about their children’s progress in public, Catholic, and independent schools. It also provides schools, school districts, and the department of education with valuable information which they can use to improve the quality of education. We support the existing exemption to mandatory standardized testing for homeschoolers.
- PCE believes that school boards should not remove or restrict educational choice. We call on all school boards to increase the level of choice that they provide. In cases where school boards do not permit alternative programs, alternative schools and programs should have the option of affiliating with school boards in other geographic areas or with school boards without a defined geographic area.
- PCE welcomes the increasing availability of distance learning, as it gives choice to parents and students in remote areas which previously could not have offered a significant range of educational options.
- PCE believes that it is not necessary for identical curricula to be used by all students across Alberta. The use of alternative curricula (such as the International Baccalaureate Program) provides opportunities for enhanced learning, and also opportunity for students with unique learning needs.
- PCE believes that alternative programs and schools should be given the opportunity to be authentic to their own traditions, values, and ideals. (For example, a Catholic school should be able to teach Catholic teaching). This includes both what is actually taught in the classroom and the values which permeate the educational environment and are exemplified in a school’s policies, practices, and standards.