By Craig Funston
Hello Mr. Candidate: Thanks for making the effort and taking the time out of your schedule to run in the upcoming election. I know it’s today, so this is a last minute plea. I hope you’re reading this, because a lot of us common people are actually worked up about what’s at stake here.
By the way, I wish you the best, even though I may or may not vote for you.
Nothing personal, friend, but I have certain moral, financial, ethical, vocational, and political convictions, and if I don’t feel you’re the best person to represent me, I won’t vote for you. That’s the joy and privilege of democracy.
If your stand on government, sex, and education (just as good examples) is different than mine, my conscience won’t allow me to put an “X” beside your name. It’s not that I don’t like you; I just don’t like your views. (Remember that agree-to-disagree thing?)
Obviously, the above issues are close to my heart; that’s why I mentioned them. The next person who may have written or confronted you may have other issues. Or, he or she may have my issues on their heart, but from a different angle—you know, they may want more bloated bureaucracy and an inclusive perspective on same-sex issues (sounds so inviting, doesn’t it?).
But I am actually focusing on one thing today—education– and where we stand on options, funding, and parental rights.
I think education is a significant plank in this election and we really need to talk about it. Indeed, you may think I have my bias (though I would call it a conviction) about education. Both my wife and I are certified teachers and we value every form of education and learning style. We support school choice, be they public, Christian, or home school—so long as true education is taking place. Some weeks ago I stated something about an educated populace being a free populace.
To the point: Many of us are very alarmed, for instance, at the capping formula that is being crammed down our throats—whether we’re public, private, and home schools. That means there will be a financial nightmare when the dust settles, so you, Mr. Candidate, will really need to bone up on your facts, position, and response to this looming dilemma.
As I have stated previously and repeatedly. I have no axe to grind with school options. My wife and I have opted for one choice for our kids, I teach part-time in another, and have many, many friends in yet another. We see a place for them all. I think that sounds like a pretty rational, point of view, don’t you think?
Can you tell me what Alberta Ed is going to do when the projected 12,000 new students enter the system this September 1st? The government, in its “wisdom” has made it clear that there is no funding for them. Any idea how that translates into real-world dynamics? Can you spell c-h-a-o-s?
Then there are the private schools, and by extension, the hundreds of new homeschoolers who notify under them: Each school is capped, so new students will not be funded. That’s neither rational nor just.
The government, on one hand, has decreed that there is a mandatory age when students should be in some form of school. However, on the other hand, there appears to be no provision to accommodate the new students. Is that responsible governance?
If I were a candidate, and I wrote a few weeks ago why I wouldn’t be, I would see education as perhaps my chief plank. It would be wussy of me, then, to sound off here, as I’m not running.
Simply put, a good government must cherish, foster, and encourage choices in education. We know those choices and must never allow one take precedence over another. Stupid to have to mention it, but do you realize that would diminish and de-value choice, not encourage it?
Also, parental rights should trump every other concern we have. Parent-directed education means they should choose where and how of their kids’ education. After all, they have the prior right to do so.
If you get elected, sir, can I have the assurance that you will stand up for this present, pressing need? It’s one of those dilemmas that also happens to be a future, pressing need: Kids of today are adults tomorrow. Limited educational options, with dumbed-down curriculum, and muffled parental input, are very, very dangerous paths to take to the future.
Alberta once had one of the most robust, effective educational systems in the world. Apparently it’s now fifth…in Canada. We need to maintain that standard, and not lower it through fumbling, bumbling policies.
Let’s hope the government is not D-E-F when it comes to our kids ABC’s.