Province announces new education task force
Alberta Minister of Education Jeff Johnson announced a new Task Force for Teaching Excellence in Edmonton on Sept. 11.
“The task force will make recommendations on how we can better support Alberta’s teachers to ensure that every student has the best chance at success. Their consultations will give all Albertans the chance to help build the future of our children’s classrooms and opportunities for learning,” said Johnson in a press release.
The group is comprised of 16 members, all with significant backgrounds in education and includes students, parents, teachers, academics and four government MLAs.
“Each member is bringing something quite different,” said Glenn Feltham, chair for the Task Force for Teaching Excellence and president and CEO of the Northern Institute of Technology.
Rocky View Schools Board Chair Bruce Pettigrew said he believes some of the recommendations from the group may end up being embedded in the regulations of the new Education Act.
“It’s been in the works for quite some time,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity to have input to say this is what’s important to Albertans,” Pettigrew said of if he thought the task force was a good idea.
“I think it’s very important that as many people as possible have input to whatever consultation this is or whatever information the government wants on education,” he said.
The task force comes as part of Alberta Education’s Inspiring Education initiative, which is aimed at highlighting the values, skills, practices and knowledge that will be vital to children in today’s rapidly changing world.
Key competencies included in Inspiring Education are: engaged thinking, ethical citizenship and entrepreneurial spirit.
“Education in Alberta must also be delivered differently if Alberta’s education system is to become truly collaborative and inclusive. The system must encourage and support creativity, innovation and entrepreneurialism to attain the highest possible standards and to ensure every student’s success — academically and developmentally,” according to an Alberta Education publication on the new task force.
Feltham said the group will open up a consultation process to the public and will be holding 11 consultation sessions across Alberta in the coming months. The dates and locations of the sessions have not been released.
The sessions will be broken into two parts, one for educators such as principals and school board trustees and the other for the broader population.
“We want to hear from people what they believe an outstanding teacher is,” Feltham said of the consultation.
There will also be an online survey, which Feltham said should be available soon at legerweb.com/teachingexcellence
Task force members will work with key stakeholders and meet one-on-one with individuals interested in speaking with them.
At the end of the consultation process, Feltham said a report will be submitted to Johnson outlining the task force’s findings and recommendations by the end of January 2014.
“It will be an incredible extensive consultation but will be moving forward quickly,” Feltham said.