In recent years, the radical left has taken great pride in tearing down the achievements of previous generations. From statues of our founding fathers to re-writing our country’s proud military history, it seems nothing is sacred.
The next target, here in Alberta, seems to be choice in education.
Last year, a collection of various groups, which unfortunately included the Alberta Teachers’ Association, launched a campaign to strip independent schools of public funding - a move that would severely limit the ability for parents to choose the style of education that best fits what works best for their kids. The campaign echoes statements made by Premier Notley and NDP cabinet members before their election victory in 2015.
It's why I stand with protecting choice in education for parents and families and why we need to make sure we defeat the NDP in the next election.
Cutting funding to independent schools wouldn’t save a dime, in fact it would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. At this time, the bulk of independent school students receive 70 per cent of funding that a typical public school student receives. Moving these students to public schools means an automatic 30 per cent increase in funding. Furthermore, independent schools do not receive government funds for construction or renovations. Those costs would also be shifted to the public purse.
Second, independent schools fill the gaps in our public education system. This is important, because students are individuals, with individual skills and individual needs. When it comes to education, one size does not fit all. Denying students access to specialized programs outside of the public system can only prevent more of our children from realizing their potential.
As a conservative, I support a strong public school system. I also support independent schools, and charter schools, and the home school system. I support all of these options for one simple reason: Choice. If the children are our future, then we should avoid limiting their options. It's important to recognize that parents, not bureaucrats, are in the best position to make education-related decisions for their kids.
When the UCP’s legacy parties first came together to discuss unity, one of the first steps was creating a list of common principles on which the new party would be founded. These included a commitment to protecting “Alberta’s successful model of school choice.”
As a Dad and someone who has spent years serving our community, it's a policy I'm firmly committed to.
Officially recognizing the value of choice in education was a historic achievement, one that has paid dividends here in Alberta and around the world. There would be nothing progressive about tearing down that achievement. It would only take our system backwards.
It's why we need to put our best foot forward in Calgary-Klein and send a strong team of United Conservative MLAs to Edmonton in 2019.