Monday, 25 November 2013

Advocacy Fatigue


  • I'm tired of winter
  • I'm tired of bad roads and icy sidewalks
  • I'm tired of "updates" that are really downgrades
  • I'm tired of my MLA not responding to my emails
  • I'm tired of cuts to public and post-secondary education 
  • I'm tired of not knowing if I will have a job next year

U of A motto:Whatsoever things are true, think on these things.
I keep lobbying for change.  I don't know why. Must have something to do with how I was raised.  I wrote letters to the premier, the U of A Board of Governors, and the Edmonton Journal about what the Alberta government was doing to post secondary education. My daughter said it gave her goosebumps.  No one from government or the U of A replied to my letter, but the Journal published it (after doing a butcher job on their edit.)  I petitioned for the Slave Lake air ambulance to be restored and it was. I work tirelessly for the things I believe in my personal life. But advocating for myself is strangely much more difficult.

I don't know what I am supposed to do about my job.  I think what I do matters. I think distance education, offered by certificated teachers, provides a vital service in our province.  I have seen it over and over again with my students- each one with an individual reason for learning at a distance instead of in the classroom. My professional association used to strongly disagree with the whole idea of distance education.  Now they see the threat of privatization they are singing a different tune. The government would just as soon see us go down. They cut funding to schools offering publicly funded distance education by 56% in their March budget. A couple of years ago a colleague was told by a government flunky that "there are organizations out there that are going to eat your lunch."  I'm not sure what that means.  But I don't want anyone eating my lunch.  It's mine!  I made it! I should get to eat it!  Maybe the dude was talking about the online cyber schools so prevalent in the US, owned by multimillionaires and operated for a profit.

I'm not any kind of conspiracy theorist, but when big business dumps millions into educational technology, bad online cyber-schools spread like weeds across the face of our southern neighbour, our government de-funds public distance education, promotes charter schools and has an ideology to privatize privatize privatize...what's a girl to think?

So I did what I always do when I think something is wrong.  I connected with people.  Former students.  Parents of students. Co-workers. Their stories gave me great encouragement that what I am doing is not lobbying for my own job, but lobbying for those individual kids and families whose needs are not met by traditional means, and whose needs will not be met by private businesses out to make a buck.

Feel free to lobby the government yourself.  ADLC supporters will be at the Alberta legislature on Saturday, November 30 at 3 p.m.