Leader: David Khan
Education enriches lives and builds strong economies. Our children deserve an ambitious investment in education. The NDP have invested in schools while cutting operational spending and not supporting true inclusive education.
The result? Alberta still isn’t anywhere near meeting its class-size targets, there is a lack of mental health support for students, students with special needs are being left behind and school fees are still punishing low-income families.
We need more than just new schools. We need more teachers and educational assistants, more counsellors and to eliminate school fees.
Smaller Class Sizes
Alberta Liberals will put an end to overcrowded classrooms by implementing flexible classroom size caps and 2, 000+ hiring more teachers.
Reducing classroom sizes increases the academic performance of students. Yet for almost 20 years successive Governments have failed to meet Alberta’s class-size guidelines. Some math classes have upwards of 45 students in them and there are Gym classes with 60 students.
The money that has been spent on reducing class-sizes has been poorly tracked, according to Alberta’s Auditor General, and failed to create results.
The Alberta Liberal Plan will:
- Introduce flexible class-size caps that make it mandatory for the Government and school boards to keep class sizes small.
- Hire as many teachers as needed to meet the class-size requirements.
- Phase in the caps over time, focusing on grades K-3 first, where class size is most strongly tied to performance.
- Work with school boards and educators to make sure class-size caps make sense locally.
- Ensure money allocated for reducing class sizes goes towards that goal.
- Fund enrollment growth, the curriculum review and infrastructure needs.
Alberta Liberals will create a leading-edge Healthy Lifestyle Program that includes banning junk food from schools and fully-funding comprehensive healthy lifestyle training. The formative years of a student’s life are the perfect time to teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Early Intervention Mental Health
Alberta Liberals will tackle youth mental health issues through a significant increase in funding for mental health services in our schools. The funding will be part of our $600 million investment in Mental Health. Seventy percent of adults with mental illness had recognizable signs in childhood that were inadequately assessed and treated. Addressing mental health issues starts with helping our youth. Doing so not only makes the lives of children better, but reduces the long-term health costs associated with unaddressed mental health problems.
The current curriculum review isn’t perfect but it has made good changes. It would be a waste of taxpayer dollars to throw it out. We support the curriculum changes but are calling for further improvements including:
- Teaching K-12 students about emotional and mental wellness.
- Expanding financial literacy education.
- Updating age-respectful early education on LGBTQ2S+ issues.
True Inclusive Education
We’ll invest in more supports for students with extra needs by increasing funding by 50%. We understand the need for more teaching assistants, more training and more professionals with specialized qualifications. We also need to fund cognitive testing
and Individualized Education Plans. We’ll ensure funding for special needs students follows the student it is intended for, including for those students who are home schooled due to difficulties they’ve encountered in the public school system.We’ll also immediately ban the use of seclusion rooms and mandate closer monitoring of all funding directed towards inclusive education.
Eliminating School Fees
We will phase out school fees for all public schools, including Charter Schools. Nothing is more important to education than equality of opportunity, but school fees disadvantage low-income families. They will cease to exist under an Alberta Liberal Government.
Fairness for Charter Schools
Charter schools are part of the public system and provide valuable, specialized programs, but this NDP government has treated them and their students like secondclass citizens. An Alberta Liberal government will eliminate school and bussing fees for Charter school students, and ensure Charter school infrastructure is funded in an equal and fair way
Source: Alberta Liberal Party website