A Thousand Teachers to Lose Jobs in Alberta

Citizens of the Canadian province of Alberta are justifiably proud of their education system, but whether it remains “world-class” is up for debate as school boards grapple with budget shortfalls. Despite Alberta Education’s overall budget increase, programs and teachers face cuts. Edmonton Public Schools could see as many as 345 positions lost,  with 299 of them being teachers.

Increasing Population But Shrinking Budget

Even with increasing populations, school districts struggle with staff allotment. Alberta Education’s budget increase only covered the 4.5% needed to cover teacher’s wages. Programs like the English Learner’s Language (ELL) and the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement received no increases at all.

The Reality for Our Children

The Alberta Teachers’ Union predicts that up to 1,000 teaching positions could be lost, and coupled with last year’s cuts, class sizes will most certainly rise.

In Fort Saskatchewan, where my daughter attends school, class sizes of 35 or more are common in the upper elementary grades. A mini-boom in the under nine crowd has forced some schools to utilize administrators for the teaching of specials like Art and put grade six students to use on lunchroom duty because there simply aren’t enough adults to go around.

Unresponsive Government

Though hundreds descended on the Alberta Legislature at the end of May to protest this new round of underfunding, the provincial government refused to allocate any additional money.

Tell Us Your Stories

My daughter was recently diagnosed with learning disabilities, and my husband and I listened as her principal explained she simply had no money in her budget to allocate any assistance for our child. Children with learning disabilities and those struggling with English because it’s not their first language are being left to fend for themselves in Alberta. We are the only province to not fund all day kindergarten, and like Quebec, we struggle with a large dropout rate. Still our elected officials return again and again to education’s budget allotment to make up deficits.

What’s the situation where you live? Share your stories with us.

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Photo credit: School Bus, Canada by flequi

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B Lewenza
B Lewenza2 years ago

This government really needs to go, one minute it is there are not enough teachers and the next they are getting rid of 1000? Why can't they ever get things straight, the children are the ones who are going to lose here. Larger classes take away from the ones who need the extra help to get through their education. They will suffer the worst because the teachers will not have enough time to single them out so that they don't fall theough the cracks. Healthcare and teachers are the last that should be losing their jobs. What a bright future these poor kids have, it's ashame.

Danuta W.
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for posting.

monica r.
monica r.4 years ago

@Stephen B
"I checked yesterday and ten new private schools opened in the last year. If this increase in private schools continues, they should be able to pick up the slack left by the public system's reduced capacity."

Well, I think you are missing something here, as in how will private schools "pick up the slack"???

If people can't afford tuition at a private school, they go to public school, so why are they going to switch to private? Also if Canada is anything like the USA, private schools don't have to provide special services, so they don't, those kids are stuck in public school.

I teach sp ed. Even a few extra kids costs all those kids the individual attention they need.

It's fine to see the situation in dollars, or just numbers, but you are forgetting those numbers are PEOPLE. People cheated out of opportunities to learn. People losing a job. People.

Beth Weatherbee
Beth Weatherbee4 years ago

Thank you for sharing, Ann. Please keep us posted.

Valerie G.
Val G.4 years ago

Thank you Ann for telling this story to us all.

Terry King
Terry King4 years ago

This is a problem of Biblical proportion. If Canada Cam is any indication of the Canadian education level, they need to triple funding not cut funding!

Carole Cherne
Carole Cherne4 years ago

It's always the poor and the children that pay the price of such political folly. I wish the kids could sue.

Eug F.
Eug F.4 years ago

@ Allen S. "Hey, Alberta, welcome to Conservatism where Profits trump People EVERY time!"

You hardly need to tell redneck Albertans about Conservative governments. They havent changed governments in 50 yrs and when they did, they removed a party that had been in power for about 50 yrs themselves!!

As a matter of fact, the province is home to even more extreme "conservatives" in Preston Manning and Stevie Harper, both who were part of usurping the Progressive Conservative Party and replacing it with the ultra right wing Reform Party agenda. But I guess thats ok because the Conservatives were given oil by God and if they were ever replaced, the oil would go.

Posing Asme
Posing Asme4 years ago

Teachers should be the LAST ones to lose their jobs just because of the economy. The impact of higher class sizes can be felt in the community for years and years to come.

Carole Dunn
Carole Dunn4 years ago

It seems that one minute the politicians are saying we need more teachers, and then they switch to the other side of their mouths and want to lay them off. They're all nuts and liars.