CALGARY (660 NEWS) — The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) has overwhelmingly shown their discontentment with Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange on Sunday.
Ninety-nine per cent of delegates at the ATA’s annual representative assembly have voted in favour of a non-confidence motion, which was first introduced Saturday.
The meeting came ahead of students in kindergarten to Grade 12 heading back to in-person learning Tuesday.
— Alberta Teachers Association (@albertateachers) May 23, 2021
During the meeting, more than a dozen people spoke in favour of non-confidence. Many expressed anger and said they felt disrespected by the education minister. Several criticized LaGrange’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UCP government has been highly criticized for its recent K-6 curriculum draft proposal. The majority of school boards across the province have rejected participating in the pilot program.
Alix Esterhuizen of Calgary Public Teachers (Local 38) spoke in favour of the motion.
“I don’t think I can lose confidence if I never had any,” said Esterhuizen through tears. “The current minister of education, and I will not say ‘our’ minister of education, because she is not, is part of a broader ethos of this government that devalues public education.
“I am sick and I am exhausted and I feel broken.”
The government has previously said they are open to feedback from teachers, staff and parents.
“It is disappointing that the union continues to play politics with our students’ education,” Nicole Sparrow, Lagrange’s press secretary, told CityNews. “While the union advances its own special interests, Minister LaGrange’s top priority will always be Alberta’s students.
“We will continue to work with the education system, including the teacher’s union, to ensure our students receive the world class education they deserve.”
In an emailed statement, NDP Critic for Education Sarah Hoffman reacted to the 99 per cent vote of non-confidence.
“Today’s unprecedented and nearly unanimous vote of no-confidence in the Education Minister by Alberta’s teachers is the result of two years of dishonesty and hostility to public education from Jason Kenney’s UCP government,” said Hoffman.
“This vote by teachers reflects Albertans’ complete loss of trust in the Kenney government.”