What Kind of Leadership is Alberta Showing by Laying off Workers during the COVID 19 Pandemic?


April 30, 2020 :: Jason Schilling, President, The Alberta Teachers’ Association
Moderated by SACPA administrator

The Alberta government has arguably missed an opportunity to show leadership during the COVID 19 crisis by directing provincial school boards to lay off tens of thousands of education workers. Teachers and educational assistants (EA’s) work closely together to facilitate student learning. EA’s were still being utilized to support students in need of accommodations along with those students with inadequate access to technology.

The Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) estimates that around 6,000 substitute teachers and up to 20,000 support staff are affected by the funding cut. The ATA stands in solidarity with the support staff affected by this decision. Even though the COVID 19 pandemic is an extraordinary life event, laying off tens of thousands of workers at this time is at best, a questionable direction by the provincial government.

While the federal government has stepped up to protect people and the economy through a compassionate stop-gap program, that still leaves many at risk kids without the support needed to succeed. The speaker will explain the shortfalls many students are likely to experience during the currently mandated “learning at home” way of going to school, without the help of EA’s and support staff. The speaker will also explore the future impacts of this decision when schools prepare to reopen at a future date.

Speaker: Jason Schilling, President, The Alberta Teachers’ Association

Jason Schilling was elected president of the 45,000 member Alberta Teachers’ Association in 2019 following two years of service as vice-president and more than eight years of service as district representative for South West. Prior to his election as President of the ATA, Schilling was an English and drama teacher at Kate Andrews High School, in Coaldale, where he worked for the last 17 years.
Schilling’s assignments as president include chairing the CTF (Canadian Teachers’ Federation) Committee, serving as a member of the Strategic Planning Group and the Teacher Salary Qualifications Board, and acting as Provincial Executive Council liaison to the English Language Arts Council. He also represents the Association on the CTF Board of Directors.

Date and time: Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 10 am

YouTube Live link: https://youtu.be/iKljIIm6b10

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