Education enriches lives and builds strong economies.
Albertans, young and old, deserve an ambitious investment in education. But, unfortunately, current and past governments have been unwilling to make the bold investments necessary to give our children the experience they deserve in the classroom or the opportunities they need when they graduate. As adults, Albertans must have access to continuing education to upgrade their skills, acquire additional expertise, and explore new career opportunities.
The Alberta Liberals oppose the UCP K-12 draft curriculum. Educators say it teaches the wrong things the wrong ways, and parents are worried the curriculum is too ideological. That’s no surprise when it dances around the issue of climate change, fails to be inclusive of marginalized groups, and includes bizarre changes to the social studies curriculum.
We support revisiting the curriculum being drafted in 2019 while keeping some changes in the UCP curriculum, including new subject matter on coding and financial literacy. However, the bulk of the draft UCP curriculum is too politicized to be saved.
Small Class Sizes.
Reducing classroom sizes has an immediate improvement on the academic performance of students. Yet, for almost 20 years, successive Governments have failed to meet Alberta’s class size guidelines. Guidelines are not enough. That is why the Alberta Liberals support legislation to cap class size. These class-size caps would make it mandatory for the Government and school boards to keep class sizes small.
Our plan will:
- 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 smaller class sizes are most strongly associated with improved outcomes.
- Work with School Boards and educators to make sure class-size caps make sense locally.
- Ensure that funds allocated for reducing class sizes go towards that goal.
Every student deserves a chance to succeed, yet students with extra needs are being left behind. Alberta Liberals will invest in more support for students with additional needs by increasing funding for inclusive education by 50%. This money will help fund teaching assistants, professionals with specialized qualifications, enhanced cognitive testing and Individualized Education Plans.
Nearly 75% of adults with mental illness had recognizable signs in childhood that were inadequately assessed and treated. Addressing mental health issues early improves the lives of children and reduces the long-term costs associated with unaddressed mental health problems. The Alberta Liberals would prioritize expanded mental health support for students.
We can do more to help the physical health of students as well. That is why we support fully funding a comprehensive health and lifestyle curriculum. This will emphasize nutrition, exercise and sex education. The formative years of a student’s life are the perfect time to teach them to live a healthy lifestyle.
We support phasing out school fees for all public schools. Nothing is more important to education than equality of opportunity, but school fees disadvantage low-income families.