AB Government should revise Distance Education move

Students in Alberta are being short changed by the Alberta government.

Dear Editor,

Students in Alberta are being short changed by the Alberta government. For the next school year, 2014-2015, students and teachers that currently use Distance Education material from Alberta Distance Learning Centre may be in for a shock.

The Alberta government is considering its budget right now. As part of their continued work to reduce spending there is the possibility of discontinuing the service agreement that it has with Alberta Distance Learning Centre. This would leave many students across Alberta with little choice and flexibility in their learning. Who are these students? They are many; over 60 000 to be exact.

Many are in rural schools. These students often cannot get the required subject at their local school, or there is a conflict in scheduling. They may be ill or in hospital and unable to attend their local school. They may be travelling with their parents and want the Alberta curriculum. They may be involved in sports and need a flexible schedule. They may be bullied or marginalized and unable to attend the local school. They may be students who require additional support. They may be students that want more course options and the ability to complete these options outside the school building. They may be adults upgrading their high school courses or earn their diploma for their jobs. They may be students that need to work and want to complete their education simultaneously. They may be administrators, in your schools, who want the ability to offer more courses to their students. They may be teachers, who want increased Alberta developed, curriculum approved resources, via an alternate delivery method, to give to their students.

The list is not exhaustive. As a parent of children in a rural area, I want my children to have all of the choices and optional delivery modes available. As a Distance Education teacher, I see firsthand how we make a difference to students across the province.

Inspiring Education, and even the Alberta Education Business Plan, talk about “Any Time, Any Place, Any Pace” learning. Is this something to which the government is truly committed? How can our government not have the moral imperative to fund its own visions and business plans?

I’m writing to bring awareness to this important issue. What can you do? Advocate for our future generation by talking to your MLA. Ask them to continue to fund ADLC’s service agreement so that students in Alberta, who want an optional delivery method, still have the ability to do so. Consider joining a rally at the Edmonton Legislature on November 30th at 3 pm, so we can collectively give voice to this cause.

If the government cannot see fit to maintain this funding, then I must question the government’s commitment to the education of all children in Alberta and cannot imagine myself, my family or my friends supporting the Conservative party in the next election.

Sincerely,

Stacy Harper

Lacombe