SOS ALBERTA CALLS FOR FEDERAL FUNDING TO GO TOWARDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS; FUNDS MUST BE DIRECTED TO REDUCE CLASS SIZES
For immediate release:
September 2, 2020
Support Our Students calls on the provincial government to invest the funding from the federal government for safe openings into supporting smaller class sizes in Alberta public schools. We also call for detailed accountability of how the funds are allocated and transferred to school divisions.
Smaller class sizes will allow for greater physical distancing and will result in higher quality education. The evidence is clear that physical distancing of 2 metres is critical to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in schools and in the wider community.
Medeana Moussa, Executive Director of Support Our Students explains that “persistent underfunding of public schools in Alberta has resulted in over crowded classrooms. This has always been a concern from a student learning perspective but now, in a pandemic, this neglect of our public schools is exacerbated and magnified as an emergent health issue. The Alberta government has a responsibility to use these funds to make the return to school safer for our students, our teachers and our communities while improving the quality of education and addressing this long standing problem.”
COVID-19 has widened the gap between high and low income families and has had the same disproportionate impact on students. Many families do not have the option to stay at home and engage in online learning. It is effective and equitable to invest this federal money in making schools physically safe for all in a way that will have a lasting impact on Alberta’s education system.
The Federal government announced $2 billion in support for provinces and territories last week through the Safe Return to Class Fund. Alberta will receive a maximum allotment of $264.84M in two installments, the first in September 2020 and the second in the early part of 2021. This funding would represent the most government funds Alberta schools have received during this health crisis.
Support Our Students Alberta is a non profit citizens action group advocating for universally accessible and equitable public education in Alberta. www.supportourstudents.ca