I am guessing most people reading this post have been inspired by Barb and Carolyn’s work. Before they arrived on the scene over 5 years ago, the conversation around public education mostly involved anxiety around government budgets and school closings. While there were activists and parent councils doing their best to defend their individual schools, what was missing was a bigger vision for what public education was and could be. And I believe this is what Barb and Carolyn gave us. They have been unwavering in their commitment to advocating for safe, accessible public education. Their clear, authentic message gave a voice to thousands of parents and teachers who may have felt distracted by politics or divided by special interests. Barb and Carolyn reminded us that public education is critical to a strong democracy and that our Alberta public schools should be defended vigorously, passionately, and loudly. They have been champions for vulnerable families who need access to equitable education more than anyone.
And what is most amazing about these women is the amount of sheer labour and time they committed to their work. They answered calls and emails any time of day, worked late into the night to prepare releases for early mornings, and travelled all over the province to share their research and experience. They built a grassroots infrastructure through unglamourous and tireless work that I know was not always easy for them or their families.
And so we want to say thank you- thank you for the phone calls, workshops, interviews, and writing. Because of your work, advocates like us have a path to continue down. We will strive to meet the high bar you set to push our government and political parties to be better, to be fearless in our belief in public education, and to be inclusive and passionate to everyone we interact with.
Good luck with what is next for you - you will be missed.