POLITICS

Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta Education Minister, Announces 10-Point 'To-Do' List To Improve Alberta Education

01/10/2012 06:30 EST | Updated 03/11/2012 05:12 EDT
CP
EDMONTON - Alberta Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk (loo-KAH'-zuhk) has introduced a 10-point "to-do" list for schools based on public consultations across the province.

He says larger issues facing education will be addressed later through amendments to existing legislation.

Big on the list is making school buildings available for other services in the community.

Other goals include allowing Grade 12 students to earn high school and post-secondary credits at the same time, and equipping rural buses with Wi-Fi so students can work during their rides.

Lukaszuk will also consider an option for parents to enrol their children in all-day kindergarten.

Critics say a lot of the ideas are old and the last thing Albertans need is more consultation.

Larry Booi, board chairman of Public Interest Alberta, says the 10-point plan is a disappointment.

"It’s actually a step sideways...at a time when we really need clear actions on education in this province,” Booi, who is also a former president of the Alberta Teachers' Association, said in a release Tuesday.

"The 10 areas mentioned are in some cases important, but there are no effective actions suggested. The proposal is not an action plan, but a 'study guide.'"

Booi said education has been reviewed enough and it's time for "action to support families."

Lukaszuk points out the items on his list were all raised during community meetings held late last year which were attended by 1,130 people.

"Let's get on them right away and then pass the law as we will and deal with the long-term issues," he said at a news conference at a north Edmonton school..

"If we can address something with the current legislation, why wouldn't you do it?"

Lukaszuk also hinted there could be more education funding in the spring budget. Premier Alison Redford, as part of a promise she made during her leadership campaign, has already returned $107 million cut by her predecessor to school divisions.

Lukaszuk suggested some of the ideas being suggested would allow him to spend education dollars more smartly and efficiently.

The Alberta School Councils' Association says it's pleased with his ideas because they give a stronger voice to parents.

(CHED, The Canadian Press)