Giving Parents A Seat At The Table
On Saturday, the ATA - the union for teachers in Alberta - held a rally at the Legislature in Edmonton.
Now, that on its own isn't too unusual - unions are always protesting for one thing or another, and all the usual activists were there this weekend, with all their usual complaints.
But what’s a little odder this time was the co-host of this rally.
This weekend, the ATA was joined by the ASCA - the Alberta School Councils’ Association.
Why's that odd, you might ask?
Well, the ASCA is legally mandated to represent Alberta parents in a non-partisan manner.
The ATA, meanwhile, are closely allied with the NDP to the point where the NDP has reserved seats on their governing board for union members.
So much for being non-partisan!
It gets worse though, the ASCA is also legally mandated to represent parent councils at all sorts of different types of schools, including public, separate, francophone, and charter schools.
But the ATA openly calls for charter schools to be shut down - they don't think they should even be allowed to exist!
So, why, exactly, did the ASCA holding a partisan political rally with a group that wants to shut down some of their member schools?
Are the parents who are supposed to be represented by the ASCA aware that their representatives are working to shut down their children's schools?
I wish I could tell you that we're surprised, here at the Alberta Parents’ Union.
But, sadly, this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Alberta School Councils’ Association.
In fact, it's been going on for a long time.
The ATA has systematically worked to take over the ASCA and subvert its work away from representing parents' interests and towards representing their own.
The two groups have run TV ads together attacking school choice and the ASCA has passed resolutions calling for some of their member schools to be abolished.
Heck, the ASCA chose to set up their offices in the ATA building and the rumour is that they're getting a sweetheart discount from the ATA for doing so, meaning they're literally indebted to the teachers' union.
Sometimes people ask us why the Alberta Parents’ Union needs to exist when parents already have advocacy and representation through the Alberta School Councils’ Association.
Now you know why.
No one objects to the teachers' union having a seat at the table on education issues - teachers have many valuable perspectives.
What we object to is that they seem to be occupying every seat at every table, including those intended for parents.
That can't be allowed to continue, which is why we created the Alberta Parents' Union.
The Alberta Parents' Union will always represent the interests of parents and their kids.
We are focused on advocating for the best possible education for all Alberta students - whether that be public, separate, francophone, alternative, charter, independent, or home education.
We aim to empower parents with the information and tools they need to ensure every child in Alberta can achieve their full potential, while accurately representing their views in the public sphere and to our representatives.
That's the best path forward for education in Alberta and that's why the APU is needed now more than ever.
If you agree, please donate to help fund our important work:
As an organization, we are only as strong as our supporters, so we also need you to join us today and become a part of our efforts.
We are aiming to build a mass movement of tens of thousands of parents advocating for students.
If you're not in a position to make a large donation, we understand, but please consider signing up as a $10 a month supporter to help us build our movement:
Alberta students are not one-size-fits-all, and they deserve more opportunities to pursue the education that fits them, not fewer.
We need your support to promote choice in education, defend Alberta's excellent K-12 education landscape, and expand opportunities for every Alberta student.
And no, don't worry, we won't let the ATA take over our organization too!
- Jeff and the Alberta Parents' Union team