As we look toward a new provincial budget, conversations around private school funding are circulating again. Organizations aiming to protect public education and the public good are renewing their repeated ask to defund private schools and focus public tax dollars on public schools. We will continue to join this chorus, but we will deepen the request.
Over the past few years of our advocacy work, we have observed that the current funding model based on a market model, not only encourages competition between schools/school boards for funding but that unregulated fees for alternative programs, programs of choice, and the funding of private schools, coupled with a reliance on fundraising has widened inequity for students across Alberta.
It should be the mandate of the provincial government to ensure that students in High Level receive access to the same rich and diverse education as students in Elbow Park, Calgary. That every child has access to the same quality education in every corner of this province, irrespective of geography or socio-economic class, and that the public school they attend receives all the necessary resources to achieve that goal.
It is our position, that years of a market based funding model has diluted the focus and definition of public education.
We would like to see a recommittment and redefining of public education in Alberta, and a funding model that does not widen inequity. Our ask is simply to review the funding model so that schools no longer have to choose between PE teachers or music teachers, desks or smart boards, enter ‘Adopt -A -School contests’, or defer maintenance on aging buildings.