Some of our AHEA members have asked for a summary of the issues that we face in this election campaign and beyond.Â
The key issue is: "Short-sighted Financial Planning Penalizes Success."
Given a budget cut, AB Education has done the most simple and thoughtless thing: freeze funding to schools.
This simplistic approach cripples any school that is growing in size, even if that growth is due to the fact it is offering a superior education.
This relates equally to institutional schools and home schooling administrations.
What constructive change do we ask the candidates to make if they are elected?
The department of Education must be directed to become creative, finding means of saving money without penalizing success.
a) Plans for capital spending…
The proposed Education budget includes construction of new schools without interruption (an obvious election plum).
b) Redundant schools…
Is this a time to do a politically difficult thing: close redundant public schools, not because of the per-student grant cost but to save the huge operation and maintenance costs?
c) Simplify regulations…
It would also be wise to simplify education regulations, including the Home Education Regulation, thereby requiring fewer bureaucrats to police them.
How much of the Education budget finances the bureaucracy?
d) Not punishing teachers and home education facilitators…
The people actually facilitating education are on the block at the hands of civil servants.
The funding framework for Education has been published without comment.
Families and educators are asking for details and clarification but Alberta Education is mute on how this reality will be lived out.
For example: has there been any thought to the question of the supervision of home education without funding?
An ill-considered freeze punishes those who are successful, punishes those that are growing, and punishes the smallest players the most (since they don’t have large surpluses to make up for the shortfall).
Home education is successful and it’s growing - over 8% total growth from 2013/14 to 2014/15.
Alberta Education apparently hasn't thought about the details, so we should point that out: identify the inherent problems with this budget and communicate them to every candidate in this election.
Families need to know that government needs to be continually nudged into doing what is right.