In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I give you a vision of that which Alberta school board trustees can only dream: a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that is Inspiring Education. She said, with tongue tucked firmly in cheek. Last night the Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) board had our first look at the impact of the 2011-2012 provincial budget on our school system. It is going to be a tough year. A really tough year.
That being acknowledged, the quote from my last post (six weeks ago!) is as relevant as ever – it may be timeless:
“Although having money is terrific, the brutal fact is that it is no substitute for the actions and efforts most apt to improve teaching and learning.” – Mike Schmoker
The focus of the CRPS district is to stay on that track.
The board and administration have difficult decisions ahead. As locally elected politicians, the board has a duty to the public to explain the rationale behind our budget decisions. That process began last night; the next installment will be Tuesday, April 19, at the 7:00 p.m. CRPS public board meeting in Banff. See you there.
The trustees, as politicians, have another important duty. We must support our provincial organization, the Alberta School Boards’ Association (ASBA), as it advocates for sustainable long-term funding for Education. The president of ASBA, Jacquie Hansen, explained it well in today’s Calgary Herald:
“Each year, school boards wait to find out the level of investment the province is willing to make in education. In good years, we can carry on with the ambitious and effective innovations that many have planned and implemented across the province. In tight years, when the price of natural gas goes down, these programs get slashed. Imagine what we could do for students with stable and predictable funding.” Education needs to be taken off this roller coaster.
Each year Alberta School Boards must provide a Three Year Education Plan to the Ministry of Education. How much better informed and useful would that document be if the provincial government was obliged commit to a Three Year (at a minimum!) Education Funding Plan?