Education for Success
Helping young Albertans succeed
Every child deserves a good start in life – excellent, safe care and a stimulating environment. Too many families can’t find childcare spaces that meet the needs of their children at a price that they can afford. And too many children aren’t getting the care they need to get a good start in life.
- The Conservative record on childcare just isn’t good enough.
- Alberta spends less per capita on childcare than any other province;
- While Albertans struggle to find childcare spaces, large, profitable corporations like Edleun, the largest childcare provider in Alberta, are getting public grants to subsidize their operations; and
- Every dollar invested in childcare pays back up to $2.54 to the economy.
Other provinces have made real commitments to make childcare a priority for families and children. We should do no less.
It's time that we put Alberta's prosperity to work for our youngest Albertans.
It’s time we recognized that the most important investment we can make is in our children and young adults. They deserve an early care and education system that’s the best in Canada, and we’re committed to making sure that’s what they get.
We can start today to:
- Introduce a childcare system that moves towards a maximum daily cost of $25 per child, with a $9 per day cap for after school care; and
- Increase the number of spaces available.
Every day that we wait is a lost opportunity for thousands of children.
Elementary and Secondary Schools
There’s no more important an investment in our future than the education of our children. It’s how we make sure, no matter where a child is from, how much money their family might have, what their other opportunities might be, that they have a chance to grow to be the best that they can be and contribute fully to our province.
And the Conservatives haven’t made the grade.
- The Conservatives have refused to guarantee school boards adequate funding to enable long-term planning;
- There are hundreds fewer staff, including 700 fewer teachers in classroom than two years ago;
- The Conservatives have failed to respond to the challenges of early childhood education, increasing class sizes, changing demographics and communities, and the hardship of school fees for many families.
Alberta’s NDP believes that it’s time to make the oil industry, big corporations and the richest Albertans pay their fair share so that we can make sure that our children get the education they need and a fair start in life. It’s time to make our children’s future a priority and to get serious about making education a foundation for Alberta’s future.
- We can start today to:
- Commit to working with school boards to ensure adequate and stable funding for the next four years;
- Implement the recommendations of the Learning Commission to reduce class sizes in Grades 1-9;
- Introduce voluntary full day kindergarten;
- Ensure adequate funding of special needs students (inclusive education) and English as an additional language;
- Prohibit school instructional fees;
- Phase in a targeted school lunch program for elementary students;
- Revise funding formulas for schools to ensure vital schools in mature neighbourhoods are not closed; and
- Create a $50 million New Beginnings Community Fund that would work with schools, municipal governments and other partners to support effective ideas to bring new life, energy and activity to mature neighbourhoods.
- For far too long, Conservative governments have treated oil companies like first class citizens and our children second class. Conservative governments think that it’s fine to cut corporate tax rates and let oil companies have our oils sands at fire sale prices, but when there’s a budget crunch education programs are cut or frozen.
We can do better.
We can give our children, all of them, a fair start in life.
It's all about the values we hold, and the priorities we make.
No young Albertan should be prevented from continuing their education because they don’t have the money now or can’t face a future of debt. Too many of our best and brightest students have been discouraged from continuing their education, or have been saddled with debt for years, because of the Conservative government’s failure to invest in our future.
At a time when corporations are making massive profits from our resources, many young Albertans are going deeper and deeper in debt to get the skills they need to be successful in today’s economy. It’s a case of the rich getting richer and the young getting poorer.
- Each year as many as 10,000 Albertans graduate from post-secondary education with an average debt load of $20,000;
- Tens of thousands of young Albertans trying to start their lives struggle to pay off student debt; and
- While pretending to cap tuition fees, the Conservatives have allowed post-secondary institutions to use non-instructional fees to make up for underfunding by government.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t. Alberta’s NDP have a plan to make sure that students get the education they need at a cost they can afford.
We can start today to:
- Immediately freeze tuition fees;
- Remove all non-instructional fees collected by post-secondary institutions for operating revenue
- Starting Fall 2012, reduce tuition fees by 10%;
- Help students who graduate from Alberta post-secondary institutions, and who are living in Alberta, by forgiving up to $1000 per year until student loans are paid off;
- Replace the revenue lost from reducing tuition fees and ending the charging of non-instructional fees; and
- Work with trade unions to increase apprenticeship training.
More of the same old Conservative policies are never going to help young Albertans get a good start in life. And more of the same will never help those young people who can’t afford to continue their education beyond highschool.
It’s time for programs that recognize that by helping young Albertans get the skills they need we’re all richer – our province, our communities and our families.