This past week at an international, provincial, and even on a local level, we have been engaged with often divisive conversations surrounding systemic racism, prejudice, discrimination, and white privilege.
Many of us can agree that we have been spurred by the barbaric police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, to say “enough is enough.”
We must stop racism, (even right here in Ponoka,) and we must speak up and condemn racist acts as a community. We must educate at the highest quality for everyone and hold governments accountable to ensuring this very thing. Which is why, amongst everything, I was horrified and aghast by statements made by Dan Williams, a United Conservative Party MLA, who urged the province to further privatize education in Alberta.
Speaking in the Alberta Legislature last week, the UCP backbencher compared private “liquor stores” as a model for the province’s schools. While this sounds like satirical news, what is more concerning than the MLA’s inept comments, is the continuous UCP push for private and charter schools, outlined in Bill 15.
The privatization of schools, like we have seen in the U.S., propagate a division between people, reinforcing privilege and benefiting an elite. Now, more than ever, there is a strong moral argument in support of a public education which integrates all students, of all backgrounds. At a time of growing division and inequality, it is fundamentally critical that our public school system brings us together, not further divide us.