The Alberta Teachers’ Association has voted no confidence in Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange. (File photo from Government of Alberta)

The Alberta Teachers’ Association has voted no confidence in Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange. (File photo from Government of Alberta)

99% of Alberta Teachers’ Association delegates vote no confidence in education minister

Last month LaGrange and the ATA accused each other of playing politics

An Alberta Teachers’ Association motion of non-confidence in Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange has passed with 99 per cent of delegates in favour.

The association debated and voted Sunday during its annual representative assembly, which was held virtually. More than 500 teacher delegates from across Alberta participated in the assembly, which began Saturday and wrapped up Monday.

The motion, which was introduced by field delegates the day prior, was jointly drafted by 20 locals of the ATA and is, “by far, the highest level of collaboration seen on a locally developed resolution in the assembly’s recent history,” the association said in a news release.

Last month, LaGrange and the ATA accused each other of playing politics with the United Conservative government’s new draft kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum, which the association has said is flawed and needs to be scrapped.

Premier Jason Kenney also resisted calls in April from the association to give frontline staffers priority for COVID-19 vaccines, before they were eventually added to the list of people allowed to book shots earlier this month.

Nicole Sparrow, a spokeswoman for the minister, said in an email that it’s “disappointing that the union continues to play politics with our students’ education.”

Sparrow said that while the ATA “advances its own special interests,” students will remain LaGrange’s top priority.

“We will continue to work with the education system, including the teachers’ union, to ensure our students receive the world class education they deserve,” Sparrow wrote.

ATA president Jason Schilling delivered a speech during the assembly’s first day, where he urged teachers to look ahead because “a return to normal will never happen.”

“We can’t go back — only forward. As dedicated teachers, we just did what needed to be done, but for many of us, that dedication has come at a high emotional cost. We need to honour that. We need to recognize the toll that the last 15 months has taken on all of us,” Schilling said.

“But we also need to recognize that we have a chance to reimagine a better, stronger, more inclusive future for our students and public education in this province we love. I believe that teachers and the ATA can lead this opportunity.”

Schilling said teachers should focus on being “persistent” moving forward.

“We will persist in our condemnation of a flawed curriculum… We will be relentless in our advocacy for our students and for public education,” Schilling said.

“We will come out of this – we will not be broken. We need to reach way down into our last reserve of energy to make it to the end of this year. We will work together to reimagine a better future, for our association, for our kids and for ourselves.”

—With files from The Canadian Press

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