Teachers assembly votes non-confidence in Alberta education minister

Alberta’s teachers have lost confidence in provincial Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, according to a Sunday vote by association representatives this weekend.

The annual representative assembly of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, held virtually this year, acts in a parliamentary function to pass resolutions on the future and policy of the organization. It includes more than 450 teacher delegates who represent each of the ATA’s 55 locals.

A resolution to express a loss of confidence in Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was added to this year’s slate on Saturday. The motion was jointly drafted by 20 locals, according to the ATA. 

Multiple representatives from the assembly spoke in support during the debate portion on Sunday.

It passed with 99 per cent of the vote. 

The ATA, which represents about 46,000 members, has been critical of the province this past year on multiple fronts, including school re-entry plans, the draft curriculum, and the vaccination rollout initially not prioritizing teachers.

In March, it filed a lawsuit against the province over a ministerial order that allows the government-owned Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) to reject any changes proposed by the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF).

Two years ago, the province passed a bill to transfer teacher pension investments under AIMCo’s management by the end of 2021.

Curriculum rejected

A slew of resolutions against the new draft curriculum were also passed the previous day.

These included a non-confidence vote and a call for a moratorium on piloting the draft, both passing with support from around 98 per cent of the vote.

ATA president Jason Schilling has criticized the draft since its unveiling at the end of March. He called its current state “deplorable” in his opening remarks on Saturday.

“Nothing about this curriculum is right: the way it was developed, the content, the feedback process, the assessments, and the resources have all been politicized.”

Nicole Sparrow, press secretary for LaGrange, said on Saturday that the government has been clear that it is seeking feedback on the curriculum.

“That is why it has been published online for all Albertans to read as part of the year-long public consultation,” she said in an email.

“We will continue to work with the education system, including the teacher’s union, to gather all feedback and make this the best curriculum possible for our students.”

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