SoS Speech at the UCP AGM Rally
My name is Barbara Silva and I am with Support Our Students Alberta, a public education advocacy organization! We are a citizen’s action group committed to fighting for a universal, accessible and well funded public education system.
Something this government is not interested in.
The other day, in an interview a journalist asked me if we are mad at this government - I'm here today to say that we are not mad.
We are furious.
We are furious on behalf of the child who wakes up sick every morning - worried about navigating a school where lack of support makes them feel unseen, and unheard.
We are enraged for parents who depend on transportation, hour long bus rides in lieu of costly before/after school care, whose costs have just doubled.
We are shocked that families are expected to fundraise for basic resources, like books, furniture, technology, playgrounds.
We are outraged that music teachers, phys ed teachers, art teachers, language teachers are now considered educational luxuries.
We are fuming, that part way through the school year, children who have built trusting relationships with their teachers will have those relationships broken in January due to cruel cuts.
We are furious that in the last 4 years, over 1 billion taxpayer dollars have left the public system to subsidize the private one, and that this party, right now, is debating that that funding should actually increase.
These are immoral decisions made by this government -
This is now a question of educational justice.
So don't ask us to compromise with Jason Kenney.
Don't ask us to negotiate at the expense of Alberta’s children
We see his plan
We know where he is taking public education.
We know Kenney wants to break unions, weaken public service and divide communities.
We know that while they debate a 100% voucher right now, we already have a 70% voucher system in Alberta.
We know he wants you to think about teacher's two months off, instead of the 10 months of dedicated, committed work they put in year over year.
Kenney thinks teaching is a vocation.
We know it is a calling.
Kenney wants you to see education as an individual commodity.
We know it is a common public good.
He wants to attack public education at every opportunity.
We will meet him there every time, to defend it.
We are here to say we are public education proud.
We are community builders, not breakers.
We support students,
We support teachers.
We support public education and we will not stand by and let this government sell it to the highest bidder.
This is the moral issue of our generation - how we stand up for children’s right to public education.
Today is just the beginning, join us.
Choose public education.
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