Yesterday, someone forwarded me the following email from Adriana LaGrange, the education minister. I have not edited for spelling, grammar, or clarity.
From: EDC Minister <Education.Minister@gov.ab.ca>
Date: Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 12:39 PM
Subject: Elected officials involvement in graduation ceremonies
To: Board Chairs of Public, Separate, Francophone and Charter School Boards
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It has come to my attention that some school divisions in the province have not been allowing elected officials, notably Members of the Legislative Assembly, to participate in digital or alternative graduation ceremonies this year. Quite frankly, I find this to hard to understand.
If a school is hosting a graduation through an alternative means, such as a digital or drive-through ceremony, there is absolutely no reason why your local elected officials, regardless of partisanship or level of government, should not be invited or allowed to participate. Graduations are not political, and every elected official should be provided with an opportunity to congratulate our graduates on taking this next step in their life.
It is my expectation that you will work diligently to meaningfully include your local elected officials, whether that be an MLA, MP or a local councillor. While ceremonies will have to adhere to public health guidelines, I am certain that whatever format you have decided will be able to accommodate these important guests.
Please remember, these graduation ceremonies are about our children, not our own political views. We all need to put politics aside and ensure that our students receive the most memorable experiences possible.
As always, if you have any questions please reach out to my office. It is my hope that after this e-mail is sent that I will no longer be receiving complaints about graduation ceremonies from elected officials from any level of government or from parents expecting to see their local representatives included in these milestone moments.
Sincerely, Adriana LaGrange
Minister of Education
Cc Superintendents of Board of Public, Separate, Francophone and Charter School Boards
Presidents and Executive Directors of Stakeholder Associations:
Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association (ACSTA)
Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA)
Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA)
Association of Independent Schools & Colleges in Alberta (AISCA)
Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA)
College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS)
Fédération des conseils scolaires francophones de l’Alberta (FCSFA)
Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta (PSBAA)
The Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools (TAAPCS)
MLAs are complaining to the education minister because schools aren’t inviting them to graduation ceremonies? Seems kind of petty.
Even so, of course graduation are political. Education is political. How much funding schools get depends on the priorities of the governing party’s politics. If the government puts corporate tax breaks above education funding, for example, it might underfund education to make up for the lost revenue. And if schools are underfunded, graduation ceremonies will be underfunded. Ergo, graduation is political.
Regarding prioritizing children, I find it interesting that LaGrange all of a sudden finds students important. They didn’t seem that important when she cut over 25,000 eduction staff this spring. Or when she underfunded education by nearly $2.5 billion.
Yes, graduation ceremonies are about the children, but so is education funding.