David Marsden: Big Education gets a failing grade for its response to COVID-19

David Marsden: Big Education gets a failing grade for its response to COVID-19

We’re told more teachers are the answer

Albertans are told the provincial government has fallen short in responding to the return of students to schools.

They demand our own MLA, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, be held to account.

“More than a week after Alberta students began returning to overcrowded classrooms, LaGrange has failed to appear at any of the briefings, sending her deputy in her place. She has, however, been spotted at several photo-ops in the Edmonton area,” said NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman.

“It’s not acceptable for the education minister to hide from scrutiny while kids go back to school during a pandemic.

“She is responsible for the school system and the decisions she is making, not her deputy, and Albertans have the right to hear her explain why she failed to give schools the resources they need to keep students, staff, families and communities safe.”

LaGrange, a hard-working public servant, is expected to not only be responsible for the education of our children and the curriculum they are taught, but for the activities of everyone beyond the schools’ hallways.

Albertans have a concern for the safety of everyone. The expenditures at all levels of government reflect that.

What we’re seeing in Alberta is the influence of Big Education. The union leaders of the dedicated professionals and staff who operate our schools have spun the tale that conditions could have been better when students went back to school.

They could have been better.

We could have created a cocoon.

COVID-19 doesn’t hide in schools. It isn’t exclusively spread by classmates. It is everywhere.

Big Education has convicted the Alberta government of falling short in its response to the pandemic. We’re told more teachers are the answer.

That’s not true. Even a classroom of one student would create the opportunity for a pupil to show up to class with COVID-19.

All of the students and staff who have tested positive for the virus have contracted it outside of schools.

Big Education is saying that Adriana LaGrange is at fault for young people and their families going about their lives, and coming into contact with the virus.

Big Education doesn’t seem worried about students who gather on the schoolgrounds and ignore the wearing of face masks and social distancing.

Big Education isn’t worried about the spread of the disease in supermarkets and other places frequented by children.

Food stores have dropped the modest COVID-19 pay premium they used to provide. Hard-working store workers interact with shoppers at close distance, often too closely, based on the public health advisories, but there’s no acknowledgement of the risk they face daily.

Hundreds of thousands of working people are going about their jobs as best they can in Alberta, always mindful of the regard we must take for the safety of ourselves and others.

Big Education should do the same thing and put the public good ahead of self interest.

David Marsden is managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

AB OpinionsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta had 1,571 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta’s central zone now has 1,101 active COVID-19 cases

Provincial death toll has risen by nine

Dustin Mitchell (Coats) is wanted by police in relation to a homicide this past Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Red Deer RCMP)
Red Deer RCMP looking for man in relation to homicide

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Red Deer man in… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 in Ottawa. Poilievre says building up the Canadian economy post-pandemic can't be achieved without a massive overhaul of the tax system and regulatory regime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservatives attack Trudeau’s ‘reset’ but they have ideas for their own

‘We don’t need subsidized corporate welfare schemes that rely on endless bailouts from the taxpayer’

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Moderna chairman says Canada near head of line for 20 million vaccine doses

Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton, Ont., linked to systemic factors, experts say

‘We’re tired. We’re numb. We’re overworked. We’re frustrated, because it’s not our rules’

The courthouse in Iqaluit is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Three Nunavut judges, including the chief justice, are at odds over whether prison conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should be considered when sentencing offenders in the territory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Nunavut judges disagree on how to sentence offenders during pandemic

IQALUIT — Three Nunavut judges, including the territory’s chief justice, are at… Continue reading

A corrections officer opens the door to a cell in the segregation unit at the federal Fraser Valley Institution for Women during a media tour, in Abbotsford, B.C., Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Few federal inmates moved from solitary after external reviews, new data show

‘There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate’

A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘I’ve been spared a lot,’ van attack survivor says as she watches trial alone

Court has set up a private room for victims and families of those killed in the Toronto van attack

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Most Read