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Alberta Teachers’ Association pass non-confidence vote on education minister with 99% in favour

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WATCH ABOVE: A bold move by thousands of Alberta teachers Sunday morning. Hundreds of union delegates representing teachers voted nearly unanimously in favour of non-confidence in Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. Chris Chacon reports – May 23, 2021

Alberta teachers voted almost unanimously in favour of a non-confidence motion in Education Minister Adriana LaGrange Sunday morning.

The motion of non-confidence was passed, with 99 per cent of delegates in favour.

“Albertans need to know that teachers in Alberta are angry about being disrespected, undervalued, under-represented when decisions are made that affect us and our students,” said Sandra Haltiner with Edmonton Catholic Teachers Local 54.

“I have more exhausted, deflated, frustrated and unwell colleagues now than I have ever seen before.”

Read more: Alberta education minister ‘truly hopes’ temporary shift to online learning will be the last

During Sunday’s Annual Representative Assembly — which the Alberta Teachers’ Association says serves as the parliament for the teaching profession in Alberta — speakers expressed why they have lost confidence in the education minister — with many citing the government’s draft K-6 curriculum.

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One speaker called the curriculum “racist, Christianized and colonial,” while another accused LaGrange of not returning the public’s emails or phone calls regarding the curriculum.

Other teachers who spoke during Sunday’s assembly expressed their frustration with the government’s handling of providing education during the COVID-19 pandemic, with one teacher saying she is sick, exhausted and broken after more than a year of teaching online and in-person classes under COVID-19 rules.

“My daughter and my grandchildren were sent back to school with a robust plan which consisted of two fashion accessory masks and some hand sanitizer,” said Karen Nakaska, Calgary district representative on the provincial executive council.

“My daughter had cleaning duties and other COVID protocols added to her workload and all of those education assistants who were fired in April of 2020 when we moved the line, who could have supported my grandchildren in their learning, many of them were not rehired.”

READ MORE: Edmonton Catholic School Board votes to not pilot Alberta’s draft curriculum

In response to the non-confidence vote, LaGrange’s press secretary Nicole Sparrow said it is disappointing the ATA “continues to play politics with our students’ education.”

“While the union advances its own special interests, Minister LaGrange’s top priority will always be Alberta’s students,” Sparrow said in a statement.

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“We will continue to work with the education system, including the teachers’ union, to ensure our students receive the world-class education they deserve.”

READ MORE: Alberta education minister and province’s teachers swap accusations of politicizing curriculum

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said the vote is a result of “two years of dishonesty and hostility to public education from Jason Kenney’s UCP government.

“She is threatening students with a botched curriculum that has been overwhelmingly rejected by school districts, parents, Francophone groups and Indigenous communities, as well as teachers,” Hoffman said.

“This vote by teachers reflects Albertans’ complete loss of trust in the Kenney government.”

On Saturday, field delegates introduced a motion of non-confidence in LaGrange at the assembly, which the association said was drafted by 20 of its locals, calling it “the highest level of collaboration seen on a locally developed resolution in the assembly’s recent history.”

 

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