Posted by: kbater | April 27, 2012

Building Bridges – The Alberta Promise

Calgary Peace Bridge

Proposed Banff Pedestrian Bridge

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the election campaign Premier Alison Redford used the phrase “Building Bridges” to separate her vision from the campaigns of the other parties (especially the Wild Rose Party).  The excitement in the air during the election was change and the Redford led PC’s were clear that they should be the change we want to see and that their change was about building bridges.

With a new significant and surprising majority (the polls told us to expect different results) that provides a strong mandate for the next four years, so what should we expect?

“It is time for foundational change in how government works, to reflect a province and a world that have changed.  Change is about listening to Albertans; being transparent and accountable; and building strong collaborative relationships with all our partners.  These principles are at the core of our commitment to Albertans.

Together we can achieve greater educational and economic opportunity, better health and wellness, and realize our full potential for generations to come.”

This is the promise outlined in the PC election platform.

Albertans should now articulate how they expect this promise to be realized in our everyday lives.

Education – inclusion has been an important focus – now is the time to get specific about the goals and to add the extra funding that makes it possible.  Class sizes have been a high priority but in smaller districts and especially those with declining enrolment the funding formula does not provide enough funding to allow school boards to hire enough staff to realize this goal.  The funding formula needs to be revised to address current reality and goals.  These same districts also have a problem with operations and maintenance funding and again it is time to review how to support small schools and small districts in offering the same quality of facilities and programs as larger schools and larger divisions. 

Canadian Rockies Public Schools has created a vision for the future of education in the Bow Valley and it includes a model of Whole Child Education that was developed in our Inspiring Hearts and Minds process.  It was informed through spending a year in conversation with students, teachers, support staff, administrators, parents, school councils and community members.  It was also informed by our work with the OECD Schooling for tomorrow project and the Innovative Learning Environment project.  Last fall the latest OECD Innovative Learning Environment meetings were held in Banff at the Banff Centre and Sir Ken Robinson was a key-note speaker.  Sir Ken has much to say about the future of education.

What are your ideas about other areas – health, resource development, municipal functions, etc.

What should the pillars of building the bridge look like?  The commitment above to listen, to work collaboratively to work together to reach our full potential is an offer we can accept and work towards.  Talk to Premier Redford and her government and ensure that we fulfill this promise!

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Responses

  1. Well said, Kim, building bridges is a wonderful metaphor for education: no bridge wil stand and bear the weight of those crossing it, without strong support foundations. CRPS stakeholders, take the time to get acquainted with our rookie PC MLA, Ron Casey (former mayor of Canmore). He is the one who will carry constituency causes back to government and cabinet.

  2. My first thought is perhaps we should only have one bridge and that a united community should be the foundation. In my opinion, everyone standing together supporting one educational bridge that leads our children to the future would be the …place to start. It seems that right now our focus is on building too many bridges and in doing so we expend too much energy and too many resources on competing for the limited dollars in hopes of making our bridge more attractive than the next. Ironically, many of those with new bridges end up trying to modify or retrofit them to resemble the one they abandoned. By enabling the construction of such a significant number of bridges many do not have enough support to safely carry children to the future. At first it may seem easier to build your own bridge and go one’s separate way, however it is usually a short term solution. At the end of the day most people do not find happiness or fulfillment alone and isolated. Wouldn’t it be easier to flourish within the diverse community of the future, when you have crossed the same bridge, walking side by side along the journey with the support of the entire community?


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