Scrap the draft curriculum

The proposed K-6 curriculum developed by the UCP has been resoundingly rejected by 58 of 61 school boards in Alberta. It is developmentally inappropriate, prioritizes rote learning over deep engagement, and embeds a troubling colonial worldview in its depiction of Canadian and world history, cultures, and religions. With little input from the people who know learners best – educators – this curriculum is a step backwards for Alberta students.

As trustee, I will add my voice to the tens of thousands of Albertans – parents, educators, boards, and supporters of evidence-based public education – to call on the Minister for Education to return to the 2018 draft, involve teachers and students, and work to develop a truly world-class curriculum for Alberta.

Ensure complex learners have all the supports they need to succeed

Complex learners (or those with special learning needs) have always faced additional challenges being heard in our system. Since 2019, these challenges have been compounded by cuts to many of the supports these students rely on to learn effectively. PUF (program unit funding), educational assistants, speech language pathologists, counsellors and psychologists, and assessments for learning disabilities are just a few of the resources that have been reduced or eliminated because of “false economies”. Without them, many students risk falling behind their peers and needing greater intervention down the road. This has placed a financial and emotional burden on families.

As the mom to two neurodiverse kids with complex learning needs, I know how vital it is to support every student to have access to the resources they need. I will fight for every child to reach their greatest potential.

Prioritize new school spaces for our growing communities in the West End

Ward E, like much of the West End, is a diverse area of Edmonton with communities in different stages of growth and development. But across the ward, there is a pressing need for new school spaces to meet growing enrollment: our only high school is at capacity with over 4000 students, and in newer communities outside the Henday, such as Edgemont, students face hour-long bus journeys to reach schools well outside their neighbourhoods. In the last provincial budget, Edmonton Public was entirely left off of the list for capital funding for new schools.

I will work to prioritize the West End for new schools, where our communities need them most.

Collaborate with parents, educators, and communities to protect public education in Alberta

I grew up taking for granted that public education was a universal right in Canada. I benefitted from a system that was always growing, adapting, modernizing and evolving along with our province and the best available evidence on student learning . But public education is at risk of being eroded by budget cuts, and a provincial government that undermines educators and privileges private and charter schools.

As Trustee, I will work every day to preserve and protect public education as the greatest public good for our province.

 

I'm running for Edmonton Public School trustee in Ward E, because I believe in public education that works for every learner.


Public education in our province is facing overwhelming challenges: budget cuts; a funding formula that no longer funds enrollment growth each year; cuts to early education and interventions; a loss of educational assistants, speech language therapists, and support staff; a proposed curriculum that has insurmountable flaws and has been rejected by more than two-thirds of school districts - all amid a global pandemic that has disrupted learning for students and taxed educators to their limits.

As a parent of 3 EPSB students (and one eager to join his siblings!), all with unique and sometimes challenging learning needs, I've spent the last 14 months seeking reassurance and direction for my kids' education. It took me nearly that long to realize I could be that voice for other parents, for students, and for our district.

I believe in fully-funded public education that strives to meet the needs of every learner. I believe that educators are the experts on curriculum and pedagogy. I believe that parents are the experts on their children. And I believe that we can - and must - build a system to support the mental health and resilience of students and educators. Now more than ever.

In my work as a political researcher and analyst, I think about the structures and dynamics of power and how people, policies, and institutions can support or resist that power. How we can engage with and change it. I pledge to centre the principles of reconciliation, decolonization, and anti-racism in my representation of Ward E.

And I'm here to learn. I want to hear from you about your experiences in education right now, your concerns, your hopes for the future.

For Ward E, for education, for everyone.

~ Rebecca Graff-McRae

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