Image from:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Response to Education Minister's Message

Here is my response to the the message that the Education Minister sent out to Alberta teachers today.

"As a high school teacher and academic counsellor I thank you for sending out your message today.  While I agree that we all need to work together to transform education, I am disappointed about actions you have taken in the past few weeks.

1.  Floating the idea of Merit Pay for teachers is nuts!!!  There is so much research out there that indicates Merit Pay does not work why would you even suggest the idea??

2.  Asking school boards their opinion on legislating teachers contracts is even more crazy!!!

These two items have gone a long way to eroding teachers belief and trust in you as the Education Minister.  When you first became Education Minister I was refreshed by your message and your vision.  However, it feels like you have done a complete 180 degree turn.  This is greatly disappointing to me.

It really appears that you have become a puppet for the Conservative party.  I thought you were better than that.

It is time for yourself, Genia Leskiw, Dave Hancock and others to stand up to the Caucus and do what is right for Education.  If Inspiring Education is to be implemented in its true vision, then we cannot use old school politics to run a 21st Century Education Dept.

It is time for you and others to do what is right for Education.  The education of our children and the future of Alberta depends on it!!"

Let me know if I got it right.

Message from the Alberta Minister of Education

So, today, in my email, I received the following message from our Alberta Minister of Education:

"Good afternoon! I'm personally reaching out to as many teachers as possible to let you know how much the Premier and I appreciate all you do. As I travel the province and meet with teachers, I am encouraged to hear how many of you are implementing the vision of Inspiring Education. Thank you.

Recently, I met with a group of teachers in a staff room in Lac La Biche. We had an excellent conversation and I promised to look into some issues they raised with me. That conversation made me realize that we need to have a more open and transparent way to communicate.

I also know that in order for you to be innovative and creative, you need a less prescriptive curriculum; you need time and space; and you want to ensure kids have equity in terms of access to opportunities and resources. These things will be a priority for me in the coming year because at the end of the day the kids have to come first.

I know we have more work to do. We want to move even more toward the Inspiring Education vision and develop changes in curriculum and assessment. We will also have to address the province’s fiscal challenges and the ATA contract negotiations.  I know many of you would also like to talk about the changing role of the teacher in the 21st century – something that came up often during our two years of Inspiring Education consultations. All of this means we need to have open communication and ensure you have access to accurate information. 

Especially now. It's my goal to make sure that as we move through this difficult budget time we are investing our limited dollars in the programs that are critical to ensuring the success of our kids, that we are protecting class sizes and inclusion funding as well as jobs for teachers to the greatest extent possible. You have told me that’s what is important to you and I am listening.

You will be hearing from me on a regular basis. But, please contact me anytime at Please share this information with your colleagues. I know my current list may not be comprehensive and I want to reach as many teachers as possible. So, if you received this from a colleague, it means you aren't on our list. Please email me or go to our existing engagement tools on the web at Engage. A new Teachers' link will help us connect with even more of you. Eventually, this is where we will post ideas for us to share.

I hope you will participate in this dialogue with me.

Talk to you soon.


Jeff Johnson
Minister of Education
MLA, Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater"

 Interesting that he took the time to send this message out to teachers AFTER he floated the ideas of "Merit Pay" and legislating teacher contracts.

Two items that teachers are vehemently opposed to.

Why didn't the Minister consult with teachers on these issues?

 Does he realize what kind of a hornets nest he has created amongst teachers and now is he trying to settle things down?

While I appreciate that he wants to hear from teachers, he is going to get quite an ear full after discussing implementing Merit Pay and legislating teacher contracts. Let me know how you feel about the Minister's message.