Posted on Nov 19, 2020


EDMONTON - UCP Education Minister Adriana LaGrange’s cuts to per-pupil funding and failure to plan for COVID-19 has left schools unable to hire newly trained Alberta teachers, even though the pandemic has left schools struggling to keep teachers in front of students.

“I called on LaGrange to cap classes at 15 to reduce spread and reduce the number of close contacts who would need to go into isolation for each case,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Official Opposition Critic for Education. “She claimed there weren’t enough teachers in Alberta. That was a lie in July, and it’s clearly a lie today as newly trained Alberta teachers can’t find work.”

Simon Krupa and Nadine Rank are both recent graduates of the University of Alberta, both have certificates to teach and want to work. But after applying at numerous school districts in the Edmonton area, surrounding communities, and central Alberta, neither could find work.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me that there are no jobs when every day I read about the strain and the short-staffing in our schools,” said Krupa, an elementary school teacher with training in special education. “The only reason I can think of is the school districts just don’t have the money. There are teachers out there like me who are ready to work.

“How can the UCP continue to fund a $30-million per year war room and give $4.7-billion to companies like Encana who left Alberta for America? To add insult to injury, Adriana LaGrange had the audacity to tell the news that no school boards have asked for additional funding,” Krupa said.

“Even during my practicum placement, it was pretty clear that the school’s budget was cut and they had planned to hire more teachers at that school but couldn’t,” said Rank, a junior high English and Social Studies teacher. “Last semester when the provincial budget was released, my mentor teacher warned me about what this would mean, and there was a big awkward staff meeting. It was tough news for the whole school. 

“I want to start my teaching career,” Rank said. “I would be willing to cover off a teacher in isolation. Obviously there’s some hesitation but someone has to do it.”

“Every day I hear from students, staff and families about just how short-staffed and overstretched our schools are,” Hoffman said. “They’ve heard nothing but excuses from LaGrange. The bottom line is Jason Kenney chose to spend Albertans’ money on a $4.7 billion handout to profitable corporations instead of keeping Alberta students, staff and families safe.”