June 18, 2014

Excellence in Education: more schools and a stronger curriculum

EDMONTON, AB (June 18, 2014): A Wildrose government will invest $2 billion over four years to build at least 100 new schools and several modernizations by 2020 while expanding curriculum choice and teaching students the fundamentals, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

The school commitment is part of Moving Alberta Forward: Excellence in Education – the second of nine policy initiatives Wildrose will unveil this summer and fall. It was announced this morning in Edmonton.

“Excellence in education starts in the classroom. That means having enough classrooms to begin with,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “That’s why we’ve made school construction the centerpiece of our policy. Wildrose is committed to building the schools Alberta students need today and in the future and providing a foundation for every student to receive an education that is second to none.”

Smith made the announcement on the site of the proposed Heritage Valley elementary school in southwest Edmonton. The project was announced over a year ago and the site remains an empty field, save for a Building Alberta sign proclaiming it.

“Albertans are tired of a government that announces schools but only puts up signs,” Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said. “Wildrose is focused on delivering real results for Albertans, and that means building actual schools where they are needed the most. Education is the single biggest investment we make in our future. We must get it right.”

The schools will be financed through the Wildrose 10-Year Debt-Free Capital Plan.

“Wildrose is firmly committed to a safe and accessible education system founded on a sound curriculum with a range of options for all students,” Smith said. “For years, the PCs have been moving us farther and farther away from this model with broken promises on building schools and a curriculum that ignores teaching basic skills. It’s time to move forward.”

To read the entire policy document, click here.

Other highlights of Excellence in Education include:


          Investing in a four-year, $2 billion school building program which will see at least 100 new schools and dozens of modernizations completed by 2020.



         Protecting a parent’s right to choose what school their child attends (Public, Catholic, Francophone, Public Charter, Private or Homeschool) and maintaining the current Alberta government funding model.



         Supporting dual-credit programs and innovative partnerships, such as placing high schools and community colleges on the same site to allow students to receive joint credit toward both a high school diploma and a certificate in the trades simultaneously.



         Developing a consistent provincial grading standard with traditional letter and percentage grades for Grade 5-12 students. Supporting the practice of teachers who give a grade of zero for incomplete work.



         Providing schools with more flexibility and resources to provide specialized courses and curriculum in the trades, financial literacy, science, language, arts, music and entrepreneurship including university and college level classes for advanced students.



         Requiring every school board and independent school to prepare and publish an anti-bullying strategy with specific initiatives that will provide every school, regardless of gender, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, appearance or any other characteristic a bully-free educational experience. A Wildrose government will work in partnership with schools and their communities to provide funding for these locally driven strategies.



         Refocusing curriculum development on mastery of the fundamentals and practical problem-solving skills. Implementing feedback of teachers, educational experts and parents in doing so.



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