Support our Students (SOS) started in late 2014 and gained prominence in 2015 during the Alberta Provincial election producing a video to campaign to MLA’s and would be MLA’s to properly fund education. It can be seen at the end of a CBC article here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-school-trustees-demand-government-reinstate-funding-1.3040960 which was followed up with an online e mail campaign. Some might argue that SOS’s impact lead to a government commitment to sustainable increased education funding.
Their stated goals on their website is “Support Our Students was born on the playgrounds of Alberta. Our experiences’ as parents witnessing the impact of chronic underfunding of public education on our children inspired us to organize. We believe in a public education system that is fair and equitable to all Albertan children. A public system where funding keeps pace with growth and every student is supported in a healthy and secure learning environment.”
ALL of these things ARTICS can get behind. We are all about encouraging citizens to speak out and be a part of the solution with their school board. Funding is a HUGE part of a good education. Public engagement, transparency and accountability for decisions from our Public School board are what we focus on.
ARTICS has been called a “public education advocacy group” and a “watchdog” for CBE Trustees. It disturbs us greatly when a group that claims to advocate “for” public education is doing so by advocating “against” another group of students and parents that choose choice. We too value a strong Public education system. 95% of Alberta students choose public education and together (citizens and school boards) we can make it better.
Recently in early 2017 , SOS advocacy has turned to attacking a part of what British Prime Minister David Cameron not so long ago called the best English speaking Education System in the world. SOS joined a group of Union’s, Labour groups and Edmonton Public Schools to advocate for eventual elimination for Public funding of Private schools. It’s important to note that slightly more than 4% of Alberta students attend Private Schools. While many of them pay extra tuition to attend, many others choose it for reason’s of special needs or unique learning environments that have nothing to do with their parents social status.
In recent months though, they have taken it a step further applauding extra costs for busing for Public School Alternative schools or “Schools of Choice” adding they “separate and segregate” students. They have called for the elimination of all choice and that the community school is where your students “should go”.
And then yesterday’s shocking and shameful series for tweets for your eyes below:
and the resulting newspaper article: http://www.metronews.ca/news/calgary/2017/08/14/sos-alberta-tweets-relating-events-in-charlottesville-to-schools-of-choice-shameful-says-calgary-education-advocate.html with no apology for using this violent, racist event in Charlottsville to further an agenda. Are they that certain that mandating where you must educate your children, in one community school is the right way to promote inclusion? or a “healthy and secure learning environment?” The removal of all choice equates to a Utopian, non racist society? If so, we’d love to see and hear evidence based arguments for such a practice.
I will let the reader decide those answers. For ARTICS, we will continue to promote YOUR civic duty to learn about your candidates for Trustee and vote for the person that best fits with your philosophy of schooling in YOUR public school system.
Get engaged Calgary.