Province unveils 10-point plan to improve Alberta education

CALGARY – For years the province has been consulting with Albertans about how they think the education system could be improved – and while a new education act has yet to be introduced, Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk says changes are coming soon.

A 10-point plan was unveiled Tuesday morning which stems from the information gathered during public consultations held across the province with over 1,100 participants. It includes a mandate for increased transparency, better school design, and preparing students for learning in a post-secondary environment.

It also promises to give parents a stronger voice when it comes to how schools are run.

“Parents will be able to look and see how much money a school board is getting and how much is actually getting into Johnny’s classroom,” said Lukaszuk.

He also told reporters that he will begin having regular meetings and communications with school councils to strengthen parental input.

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Calgary Board of Education chair Pat Cochrane says the new plan is a welcome one, however, school boards will require stable funding to carry out the initiatives.

“As the largest school district in Alberta we appreciate having a Minister who understands that initiatives have many possible implications so predictable, sustainable funding is crucial for our students.”

Other initiatives of the plan include:
*Trial projects to make bus transportation more efficient so that students spend no longer than one hour getting to school by bus and are able to use technology while in transit.
*Building playgrounds at the same time as new schools are constructed.
*Launching a review of provincial achievement tests this spring.
*Creating more ways for students to earn high school and post-secondary credits at the same time.
*Designing new schools to include health-related services and community sports programs.
*Working with the federal government to to improve math and reading skills among First Nations students.

Lukaszuk says the new Education act will be introduced in the legislature this spring.

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