WESTLOCK - Australian exchange teacher Gemma Walker pointed out this week that it’s been interesting to be in this province at a time of such change in the education system — see her story at https://www.townandcountrytoday.com/local-news/exchange-teacher-says-goodbye-to-wes-1963755
Starting with budget cuts, which prompted a number of school divisions, including Pembina Hills, Edmonton and Calgary to announce significant shortages, and ending in Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange’s tweet about a Social Studies exam question that she claimed was anti-oil, it has been nothing short of tumultuous.
The direction we take with education is critical for the sustenance of this province, and it appears it doesn’t matter to our government. In this scenario, education is not the main issue; it is, instead, always budget-adjacent.
Press releases about environmental policies, for example, are linked to their impact on the economy only when the environment minister should be speaking about, you guessed it, the environment.
The education minister’s tweet prompted a number of responses in the media about the role of education. In a MacLean’s op-ed, Max Fawcett asked whether the province intends to produce critical thinkers or compliant ones.
One possible answer is that the province doesn’t intend to do anything related to education specifically. The government’s main priority is the economy, at the expense of all other areas. All the eggs are once again in one basket and we’re going forward on a hope and a prayer for another boom.
Education is a long game. It doesn’t produce immediate results. It’s an investment.
A critical thinker would immediately point to the fact that with her tweet, LaGrange demonstrated the epitome of irony: by her logic, pro-oil Social Studies tests would also be propagandistic, because they, by their nature, support one view over another.
Most recently, advanced education press secretary Laurie Chandler tweeted in response to Rachel Notley’s chief of staff: “You do know that students didn’t want the freeze, right?”
She was referring to the cap on student tuition increases that the UCP lifted. We also have a question: “What?” It doesn’t take a critical thinker to figure that incongruity out.
The UCP seems to have identified systems like education, health care and the environment, as ‘broken’ because they don’t serve the economy in an immediate fashion, but that’s not their role. They serve people and people feed the economy.