Alberta Students Continue to Learn in Overcrowded, Highly Complex Classrooms Despite Government Announcement
After too many consecutive years of steep education cuts, the small injection by the UCP Government today is significantly short of what is actually needed to alleviate overcrowded and highly complex Alberta classrooms. Statistics Canada found that Alberta comes in dead last and well below the national average in per-student spending. Meanwhile, a record number of new families are moving to Alberta from other provinces and abroad. Combined with historic inflation pressures, this means today's announcement of $30 million distributed across many school divisions does not go far to address the estimated $1.2 billion/year shortfall of education funding. Earlier this week, the UCP Government struck down a proposed Education (Class Size and Composition) Amendment Act that would have restored public class size reporting, augmented funding, and overall transparency about the tangible crisis in public education. It was the UCP government themselves who removed class size reporting and funding in 2019. All this shows they are not truly committed to concrete action and this negligence only leaves students without adequate educational resources.
“They can’t manage what they don’t measure. By refusing to restore public class size tracking and transparency, we cannot concretely quantify overcrowded and complex class compositions. However, we know by being inside the schools that class sizes are the largest they’ve ever been. The reality is that students are being squeezed into classes of 35, 40 or even more kids. We don’t have enough resources, support staff, or educators” says Medeana Moussa, Executive Director of Support Our Students.
Students deserve to receive adequate space, instruction, care, and resources in their education. The public deserves to know just how crowded and complex our classrooms have become.
“Today’s funding announcement allocates minimal (delayed) dollars towards our severely strained public education system. It surely does not go the distance and serves only as a short term bandaid solution. There will be no accountability of where this money goes. We need a targeted, comprehensive action plan that includes meaningful systemic supports to re-commit to providing high quality public education accessible for every student. Today’s announcement does not begin to cover the operational and infrastructure deficits we are facing,” adds Medeana Moussa.
Support Our Students calls on government to 1) restore open class size reporting across the province; 2) monitor and fund classroom complexities; 3) permanently fix the funding formula to stop penalizing growing school divisions; and 4) restore funding for instructional and infrastructure deficits. As government continues to withhold information and resources, the Alberta’s public education system remains direly strained and students are the ones paying the price.
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Media inquiries please contact:
Wing Li (she/her)
Communications Director, Support Our Students Alberta