UCP Leadership Hopeful Offers Sophie’s Choice for Education Platform

Monday started off better than last week with Brian Jean actually going so far as to make a policy proposal.  It’s awful but anything that takes attention away from Fildebrandt for a bit is a blessing.   While it’s likely we haven’t heard the last of the expense scandals, at least there’s questionable and inappropriate policy to talk about today.

Jean introduced his policy with a standard phrase designed to keep his supporters scared and angry;

The NDP government is starting us down the wrong path by imposing their ideology and eroding the choices Alberta students have so benefited from (in) the past.  They’ve launched their massive curriculum review with no indication who is leading it or where it’s going.

The UCP/Wildrose group has had a lot of success with this narrative.  Kenney raised alarm about the curriculum review but wouldn’t go so far as to say a UCP review would be transparent.  Two weeks prior to Jean’s media scrum on Monday, Kenney also claimed students were being taught “fads”.  The two front-runners, let’s be honest, will do everything they can to make this about personality.  If they have the same talking points, then you only have to vote for the person you like better… or dislike less.

Malcolm Mayes, Edmonton Journal, June 2016

With all the discussion around the certainty that the current government will impose their ideology on students, the Wildrose/UCP are suggesting they can, and will, do the same.

We would focus on enhancing the curriculum from an Alberta perspective by improving financial, historical and energy literacy.  Alberta is the best province in the best country in the world and our students need to be taught exactly that.

Would an “Alberta perspective” include the Wildrose/UCP whopper that Alberta makes transfer payments to our eastern provincial neighbours?   This is indeed worrisome because although it certainly is a perspective widely found in this province, it’s only loosely based on reality.  Canadian citizens pay federal taxes and the federal government gives money back to provinces based on need.  It’s really not a difficult concept unless you’re trying to sell a lie.

There was also something Jean said that I somewhat agree with;

We do Alberta’s children no favours by giving out passing grades without them achieving their full potential.  We would end the “No Zero” policy.  If you don’t do the work, you should get a zero.  Students must complete the work and demonstrate a minimum level of achievement to advance to the next grade.

I agree with teachers that no one should tell them they can or cannot give a certain mark; they are the professionals.  With that being said, the case for a no-zero policy actually makes sense if you consider the reasoning behind its implementation.  With children currently attending Alberta’s K-12 system, I am of the opinion that a no-zero policy increases responsibility and collaboration between the child, parent and teacher.  What is easier?  Helping a student complete an assignment or giving them a zero and moving on?  The no-zero policy was brought in to enforce exactly what Jean is saying: “Students must complete the work”.

Our plan to strengthen Alberta’s education system would ensure parents remain the primary educator of their children by allowing for the choice in education they want their children to receive. Commitment to diversity and choice in Alberta’s education system will ensure success for students.

“Choice”.  We should not forget that libertarian policies still want the government to pay for your children’s education, they just want to ensure someone can make a profit.  Public schools don’t make money but a lot of money, taxpayer money, is spent on them.  If the libertarian movement could get their hands on the money “given” to education, they would ensure a few people could profit.  That’s the real choice Brian Jean wants to provide and no, Mr. and Ms. “ordinary”, “average” Albertan, he’s definitely not talking about you.

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