Throughout 2017 Parents for Choice in Education was a vital voice in Alberta’s public sphere.
Our persistent, thoughtful engagement has successfully framed public discussion and informed debate around key education issues in Alberta.
Our strength is made possible because of the thousands of concerned Albertans who continue to courageously insist upon the highest standards of quality and care for all students in our K-12 education system.
We are greatly appreciative to each one of you. Thank you for entrusting us to carry your voice forward as we advocate for an excellent, quality-oriented, and choice-driven education system which recognizes parental authority.
Here are the top ten highlights we are celebrating as we look back on 2017:
Concerned families finally gain a voice in the Alberta Legislature
On November 15th, 23 MLAs represented us, the concerned citizens of Alberta, and voted against Bill 24. They gathered their courage and chose to stand up for the protection and safety of Alberta students instead of surrendering our children to political expediency and false rhetoric.
Thanks to the deluge of letters and phone calls sent from you to our Alberta MLAs, which expressed numerous profound concerns about Bill 24, we finally have representatives that are standing with us, and for us, as we battle for the return of parents to their rightful position as the primary educators and caregivers of their own children.
Ideological experimentation that puts Alberta children at risk will no longer move forward unabated and unchallenged in our Legislature.
PCE elevates the importance of trustee elections and impacts public discourse
In October PCE produced informative Voter Guides for School Trustee elections, which successfully elevated the profile of these elections in the public sphere and empowered our supporters to vote wisely.
As a result of PCE’s advocacy the trustee elections were discussed regularly in the mainstream media, ensuring that key education issues and concerns remained central to the public discussion.
PCE courageously confronts the rhetoric of the Education Minister in the media
On September 29th, News Talk 770 with Danielle Smith invited Donna Trimble, Executive Director of Parents for Choice in Education, alongside the Minister of Education, David Eggen, to discuss the Minister's intention to amend the School Act to enforce secrecy and sideline parents in the care of their own children in Alberta schools.
In this interview PCE courageously and directly confronted Minister Eggen's dangerous rhetoric, as the Ministry of Education under his leadership has used the strong arm of the government to forbid schools from reaching out on behalf of students to their most important allies, their parents.
CLICK HERE to listen to this important interview.
PCE released the first two videos of our “Perspectives in Education” series
The intention of this video series is to enrich public understanding around key issues in education essential to school choice, especially in the areas of parental consent, school funding, curriculum development and reporting.
The first video, released in the fall, focuses on the dangers of secrecy in Alberta schools and the second video discusses the deteriorating education outcomes of Alberta students, and what can be done to correct the course.
Keep an eye out for more videos coming in the New Year!
PCE expands thanks to generous donors
Thanks to our donors, PCE was able to expand to a new and more robust website at the end of June. This site significantly increased our email capacity and speed, allowed us to tailor communications to our thousands of supporters based on geographical location, and enhanced our donor capacity with a new monthly core supporter option, alongside our one-time donor form.
We were also thrilled to welcome a new part-time staff member, Theresa Ng, to our organization as a Communications Advisor and Edmonton-area spokesperson. This has greatly expanded our capacity to research issues, produce informative resources and do presentations.
Thank you to all of our one-time and core monthly donors for making this growth possible!
PCE publicly confronts the ideological activism of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA)
In the province of Alberta school choice is under attack and PCE is there to push back.
Several PCE columns were published in major newspapers confronting various ATA actions that took place throughout 2017. PCE challenged the ATA vote to undermine Catholic education, their push to sideline parents in the care of their own children, and their alliance with some public school boards and special interest groups to call for the stripping of independent school funding,
We will continue to fight the false and superficial rhetoric of these bureaucrats and special interest groups, and insist upon genuine discourse in the public square.
PCE exposes child endangerment in schools
In March, Theresa Ng, as author of Informed Albertans, broke the news of a government-recommended online resource which directed K-12 children to sexually graphic material.
All but a few mainstream media outlets completely ignored this severe violation of public trust and it was up to PCE to spread this critically important news into the public sphere.
From PCE’s Facebook page Theresa’s blog article received tremendous public exposure (over 30 000 clicks and a reach of over 120 000!), resulting in an outcry that could not be ignored.
As a result of the pressure laid to bear on the Institute Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS), the developers of the GSA resource, and the Government of Alberta, who provided funding and continues to recommend this website, all inappropriate community support links were publicly removed.
However, as Theresa Ng explained in a follow-up video, simply removing links does not solve the underlying problem as these same individuals continue to be entrusted with access to children in schools and tremendous authority over our K-12 education system. In fact, several staff from iSMSS were special guests to the legislature when Bill 24 was tabled and were invited to stand behind the Education Minister during the media scrum announcing its introduction. It is alarming that individuals who continue to legitimize the use of the egregious Sex from A to Z cards with children, all while pushing for the sidelining of parents, are given such a high status and influential position with students in schools and the Ministry of Education.
PCE will continue to advocate for the removal of any influence by this organization and any others who severely violate the public trust and endanger the safety of Alberta children.
By the thousands, Alberta citizens are banding together to state that “Parental Consent is Key”
The signatures on our Parental Consent is Key campaign have grown by the thousands this past year!
As increasing numbers of people become aware of the risks and dangers children face in Alberta schools and unite under the umbrella of PCE, we are successfully amplifying our voices and our impact.
Please continue to share this open letter with those in your networks to help increase awareness of this important campaign.
PCE continues to demand accountability and transparency in curriculum development and reporting of student progress
In January 2017, PCE had a column published in the Calgary Herald regarding concerns with the Calgary Board of Education's vague reporting of student outcomes that left parents unable to discern their child’s actual competency.
It is time to return to common sense, transparent, outcome-based curriculum development and concise, accurate reporting of a child's learning progress.
We owe it to Alberta students to ensure the skills they are taught in their K-12 education set them up for success in their adult lives. Only by moving away from failed experiments in curriculum such as Discovery Math, and returning curriculum development to subject experts and end users, can we ensure Alberta students receive an education that will allow them to succeed both here in Alberta and on the world stage.
PCE remains a mature voice of reason, denouncing superficial rhetoric
While many focus on superficial rhetoric and sound-bite talking points, PCE takes every opportunity to discuss key issues with depth and nuance.
We insist upon putting the genuine safety and quality of education for Alberta students first, by expanding the public conversation through debate and extended interviews.
Two such television opportunities in 2017 included a debate between Executive Director Donna Trimble and Lauren Alston, a representative of iSMSS, on Alberta CTV Primetime, and an extended interview on CBC National Online.
PCE also had a column titled GSAs: More Than Pizza and Peer Support published to further expand on concerns regarding Bill 24 that were otherwise ignored by many in the mainstream media.
Happy New Year!
2017 was a very successful year for Parents for Choice in Education, in large part because of you, our supporters! Thank-you!
As we head into 2018, help us continue growing in numbers and influence. Share these PCE highlights to those in your sphere of influence who may yet be unaware of the erosion of genuine choice in education and the extensive dangers faced by our K-12 students in Alberta schools.
Sign up on our home page at parentchoice.ca to ensure you don’t miss our 2018 Action Plan coming soon. Encourage others you know to do the same.
By returning parents to their rightful position as the primary caregivers and educators of their own children, we can ensure the future strength of Alberta students on the world stage. Together we will be persistent in this work for the sake of our children; the very future of our province depends upon it!