If you're following the news (see below*) of the education funding situation in Alberta, Canada, and especially of the news coming out of Calgary, you'll find a lot of very confusing and seemingly unreasonable things are going on. Due to the way the union negotiated contracts work, and the relatively reduced size of the budget, a lot of new or young teachers — and even some younger but experienced teachers — may find themselves without a job come September.
It should be noted that those contracts were negotiated and agreed upon by Alberta's Conservative government, and now the size of the budget is also controlled by the very same Conservative government! Is it not fair to say that the entire situation with the teacher layoffs has been engineered at the hands of the Conservative government? I wonder if they might, in one or two years, ratchet up the education funding just in time for the provincial elections that will likely occur in 2012.
In any case, the situation reminds me of a scene from Mad Men, when Don Draper says, "Who the hell is in charge? A bunch of accountants trying to make a dollar into a dollar ten? I want to work. I want to build something of my own. How do you not understand that?":
(or hear it here)
It will be a real shame if a lot of young teachers will be denied the opportunity to contribute to the building of a better and more educated citizenry, because the government wants to shave a penny's worth off each dollar**.
* Calgary’s public school board could cut 324 staff
Hundreds more teaching jobs to be cut by CBE
Provincial education funding falls short
A lesson in pettiness?: Province gives to education with one hand and takes away with the other
Rural students getting hosed
** The imagery evoked is what I want to convey; I don't know if the cuts to education will amount to more, equal, or less than 1% of the whole provincial budget.