What have you missed? PCE November highlights!

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November has been another busy month for Parents for Choice in Education. Here is a summary of the highlights to help you stay up-to-date.

NEW PCE VIDEO!

We thank PCE Board Director Stuart Wachowicz for lending his expertise to this second video in the PCE “Perspectives in Education” series, entitled “Why are Alberta students struggling to compete on the world stage?

Stuart Wachowicz is an educator with 44 years experience. He taught for 25 years in rural Alberta, where he primarily taught mathematics and served as a school administrator. From 1997 to 2009 he was Director of Curriculum for Edmonton Public Schools. During this period the Curriculum Department became one of the largest curriculum contractors in western Canada.

Watch PCE's new video by clicking HERE or on the picture below and please help spread this important information by forwarding this email and/or sharing the video link on social media.

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NEW COLUMNS ADDED TO THE PCE WEBSITE

Executive Director of PCE, Donna Trimble, had a guest column published in the Calgary/Edmonton Sun on Nov 6/7th entitled “GSAs: More than peer support and pizza”.  A printable PDF is available HERE

Parents, we are being duped. We all want safe and caring schools. We want to ensure that all vulnerable students, including sexual and gender minority students, have the support they need… However, the NDP are using our good intentions and loving hearts against us. They are playing a game of bait and switch, convincing us to abdicate the care of our own children, all while ignoring the risks. [READ MORE]

A thought-provoking analysis written by Mr. Michael Wagner entitled "Abandoning History to Create Social Change in Twentieth Century Alberta" was recently added to the "Other Columns" section of the PCE website.  

During the first few decades of Alberta’s education system, one of the subjects students were required to take was history… However, educational reforms introduced into Alberta during the 1930s led to history as a subject being replaced by social studies. This was a central component of the movement for “progressive education.” The abandonment of history in favour of social studies in Alberta is explained by Professor Amy von Heyking of the University of Lethbridge in her book Creating Citizens: History and Identity in Alberta's Schools, 1905 to 1980 (University of Calgary Press, 2006).  [READ MORE]

 

#GIVING TUESDAY

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In honour of #GivingTuesday on November 28th, a generous supporter of Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) pledged an additional one-time donation of $10 for each new monthly donor who signed up before midnight on Nov 28th.

Thank you to the 27 people who signed up as new monthly donors during the #GivingTuesday special opportunity and thank-you to our generous donor who is writing an extra cheque to PCE for $270!

Monthly donor funds are essential in helping PCE continue the important work that we do to inform, engage, organize and mobilize increasing numbers of Albertans across the province.

If you appreciate the work we do and believe in the vision of PCE – to support Alberta students by advocating for excellence in education through maximum parental choice – please consider signing up to become a monthly core donor. CLICK HERE for our donate page and look for the "MONTHLY DONATION" button.

 

BILL 24 & LOOMING COURT CHALLENGE

On November 2nd, Education Minister David Eggen introduced Bill 24 in the Legislature. In response, PCE provided a summary of 5 key concerns and encouraged people to contact their MLA to voice their concerns.

Bill 24 passed third reading on November 15th with 42 MLAs voting in favour and 23 opposed. To learn how your MLA voted, PCE provided a summary on our website “Bill 24: How did your MLA vote?”  

In response to the passing of Bill 24, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) announced they will be launching a court challenge in early 2018.  For more information, read JCCF’s media release, as well their legal analysis entitled Unconstitutional: How Bill 24 violates our Charter freedoms

CBC News Network interviewed Donna Trimble, Executive Director of PCE, on Nov 10th, regarding concerns with Bill 24.  CLICK HERE or on the picture below to watch the full video interview.

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Throughout the month of November, many individuals and groups publicly voiced concerns about Bill 24, including the following:

1. Calgary Herald, Nov 25thCouple warns their daughter could have died under new GSA law

The parents of a southern Alberta autistic girl are warning other parents that had Bill 24 been the law over the past two years, their 14-year-old daughter very likely could have committed suicide.

The parents, who have asked that their names be changed and their identities hidden to protect their daughter’s privacy, are pleading with Rachel Notley’s NDP government to “not shut parents out of their children’s lives” and “to bring some nuance” into Bill 24, which became law in Alberta on Nov. 15.

Bill 24 makes it illegal for educators to tell parents if their child has joined a GSA, or gay-straight alliance, at their school. But this couple — who are going by the names Sarah and Stephen for the purposes of this article — say their Grade 9 daughter fell into a “dark place” after joining her school’s GSA.  [READ MORE]

 

2. Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton:  Bill 24: Parents, trustees, superintendents fear harm to parent-school relationships 

The Catholic trustees argue that while the bill’s overall goal of protecting vulnerable students is commendable, its broad language may damage both the parent-school relationship and the autonomy of local elected school boards.

“There should not be a blanket refusal to communicate information to parents without some assessment of the child’s best interest in the particular circumstance,” the ACSTA stated. “While inclusion clubs are welcome in all Catholic schools, the requirement to immediately approve of any activity without the opportunity for schools to evaluate the broader context in which the group is being formed can potentially impact our denominational religious Charter rights.” [READ MORE]

 

3. Globe & Mail, Nov 11th: Gay-straight alliances are greatly needed, but that does not mean Bill 24 should pass written by certified child-development specialist, parenting coach, and bestselling author, Judy Arnall.

"Bill 24 appears to be based upon the misguided concept that a school is a haven of trust and care; while parents, on the other hand, are intolerant authoritarians ready to reject non-conforming children.

Schools are not safe havens. Parents approach me after my workshops on bullying to tell me they feel helpless because bullying persists in their children's schools despite posters, slogans, workshops, pink T-shirt days and bully-proof programs." [READ MORE]

 

4. Medicine Hat News Letter to the Editor, Nov 9th: Appalled with Alberta NDP’s efforts ‘to fragment the family unit’ by Richard Dietrich, a former principal

"I am appalled and horrified at the NDP’s blatant efforts to fragment the family unit under the guise of protection of a select and privileged group of professional lobbyists." [READ MORE]

 

5. Lethbridge Herald opinion column, Nov 22ndBill 24 offers illusion of freedom by John Sikkema, who serves as Legal Counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action

"What Alberta’s government has done, cleverly, is create a supposedly student-controlled conduit for the ideology of the new sexual revolution, shielded from parental oversight. But students do not develop views on human sexuality, gender and sexual ethics in a vacuum. The idea here is plainly that students be encouraged to adopt the ideological framework of the Alberta GSA Network and similar organizations." [READ MORE]

 

6. Calgary Herald Editorial, Nov 4thBe sensible on sex education

"As an increasing number of Albertans have observed, the NDP’s position on sex education is a repudiation of diversity and an insistence that government knows best. That’s never a good thing. The government should demonstrate some of the tolerance it often talks about." [READ MORE]

 

BILL 28

Bill 28, introduced in the legislature on November 15th, proposes a series of amendments to the School Act which will further centralize control over the administrative duties of school boards, including Independent Boards, into the hands of the Education Minister and the Ministry of Education.

It also seeks to control who can be hired as a principal and what training they must have.

Finally, it seeks to strongly incentivize financial partnerships between boards in areas such as buildings and busing. An overview of some of the key changes are provided in this Edmonton Journal article.

To read Bill 28 and keep up-to-date on its progress and debate in the Legislative Assembly, CLICK HERE

 

PCE IN THE COMMUNITY

PCE was honoured to be invited to 5 different presentations across Alberta in November, including in Stony Plain, Sylvan Lake, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.  We are grateful to Theresa Ng, now working part-time as the Communications Advisor/Edmonton representative for PCE, for expanding our capacity to do these presentations.

If you are interested in hosting/organizing an event in your area and inviting PCE as a guest speaker, either in-person or via Skype, please send an email to Donna Trimble and Theresa Ng (dtrimble@parentchoice.catng@parentchoice.ca ) to learn more.  

PARENTAL CONSENT IS KEY CAMPAIGN

We have had over 2,000 new signatures added to our “Parental Consent is Key” open letter over the past couple months! 

If you haven't done so already, CLICK HERE and add your name to show your support. 

Please invite your family and friends to also add their support to get this number as high as possible!

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