The Alberta Teachers’ Association(ATA) is expressing its disappointment in the UCP government’s defeat of a bill which would have once again made class sizes public in the province.
The Government of Alberta stopped the practice of publicly reporting on class size data in 2019 at a time when the data was showing years of unprecedented growth in Alberta class sizes.
Airdrie schools are at 96 per cent capacity overall, according to the Rocky View School Division, with some schools already exceeding 100 per cent in capacity.
Schools in Chestermere and Cochrane are facing similar growth and capacity challenges.
Bill 202, the Education (Class Size and Composition) Amendment Act, sponsored by Calgary-Beddington MLA Amanda Chapman, called for the annual reporting of class size and composition data; the establishment of provincial standards for class size and composition; and the establishment of a Commission on Learning Excellence to look at class size, composition and other educational issues.
“Alberta’s students are currently learning in the largest and most complex classrooms we have ever seen,” said ATA president Jason Schilling, upon hearing of the defeat of Chapman’s bill. The previous government introduced a new funding model that cut supports for complex student needs and stopped funding the full rates of enrolment growth. At the same time, it also stopped reporting the exact data that would track the impacts of these funding choices.”
Schilling called on the Minister of Education to pass its own bill on class size reporting if it doesn’t want to endorse the Opposition member Chapman’s bill.
“Adequate support for public education should not be a partisan or political issue,” he stated. “Regardless of political stripe, Albertans across the board want to see well-funded classrooms.”