Breaking Up With The PCs in Alberta

Well……what can we say?

If the ATA and the PCs were truly married, it might be suggested at this point that some serious marriage counselling would be in order.  I don’t think we need counselling, I think this marriage needs a full frontal lobotomy.

You see Jeff Johnson, Minister of Education, can no longer be trusted.  450 delegates at the annual ARA Meeting told him so.  And if he acts surprised then realistically we can only point him to his actions of the past.  Let’s take a look at the progress of this relationship (in simplistic terms yes, because none of us have all day here).

The honeymoon phase of this marriage was sunshine and roses.  It started with a continuation on Inspiring Education, started by Dave Hancock and continued by Jeff Johnson….a document that inspired within teachers a belief that we were on the same path.  The curriculum needed some revamping with a focus on the future of Alberta students in a changing world.  It talked about a shift in mind sight to include some 21C skills and mindsets.

Then the honeymoon ended.

Johnson decided to talk about things like Merit Pay and the potential of a legislated 4 year contracts.  And we became wary.  We weren’t sure if we should change the locks or give it another try.

The Math Attack came and Johnson defended us.  He posted a great video that explained that the way we teach Math can’t look like it did 50 years ago.  That test results were not the be all and end all for judging our student performance.  And that our student population today is so much different then it was.  And we thought….he gets it!  He really gets it!  And we stopped packing our suitcases and put our items back in the drawers.

When Johnson talked about creating a Task Force for Teaching Excellence we once again went back to him with mixed feelings of hope and trepidation.  Some of us chose to be optimistic that this would lead further down the path that Inspiring Education had started.  We saw a future where we could all be happy.  Together.

And then the announcement came……and we realized that not only were we not on the same page, we weren’t even in the same library.

While we had been holding out hope for a reconciliation, it became apparent that one person in this relationship/partnership was really only interested in the control of the other.  Oh boy……I don’t feel the need to post about my feelings on the Task Farce (spelling mistake INTENDED) because it has been spelled out loud and clear by many others.  And it has occurred to many of us

….perhaps a divorce is a little much but at the very least we want to see other people.  And so all eyes turned back to Dave Hancock who is now the interim Premier of Alberta.  But he seems to waffle.

And now the question becomes……who gets the kids?  Apparently we are both fighting over them and Johnson claims that HE represents students while the ATA only represents itself.  Excuse me?  Did anyone else feel that slap directly to the face or was that just me?  To say that the ATA promotes teaching interests is fair.  But guess what….the interests of the teachers are directly related to the interests of the students.

And sorry Jeff, but when’s the last time you ever attended our kids soccer game?  Or school play?  Or helped them after school with their homework?  Or let them cry on YOUR shoulder when they felt like their world was coming to an end?  We only ever see you at a school when you need a nice photo op.  You represent the kids?  Sorry but I’m going to call you on this one.

The fact is that the ATA has been more than willing to be partners in this marriage, but when consideration came to how to improve the relationship we were left out of the conversation.  I’m not sure how you can improve a marriage while ignoring one of the spouses but hey, I’m no marriage counsellor.

But…..I do know one thing Mr. Johnson.  In the words of Taylor Swift…..we are never ever ever getting back together.

Oh and by the way…’s not us.  It’s you.


About Cherra-Lynne Olthof

I've been a middle school teacher for my entire career (which began in 2001). Like my students, I too am a life long learner. My goals include helping my students to achieve their goals, support them in their learning, and to encourage them to think "beyond the grade".
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