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Episode 435: Jason Schilling

The Alberta Teachers’ Alliance was created in 1917, at a meeting of the Alberta Educational Association. The Alliance’s inaugural annual meeting was held in First Presbyterian Church in Edmonton during Easter week of 1918. Among the members of the Alberta Educational Association were those of many walks of life interested in advancing education in the new province of Alberta, but it was not a professional organization equipped or mandated to address teachers’ salaries, classroom and working conditions, or the professional views of teachers. At the time, teachers were leaving the profession by the hundreds, either through enlistment in the armed forces or to other professions offering better salary and living conditions.

As a result, thousands of unqualified persons were granted the authority to teach. Teachers were disadvantaged socially and economically. Tenure did not exist; short-term contracts were the order of the day; and teachers had no appeal against dismissal. The Liberal government of Premier Charles Stewart (1917–1921) and the Honourable J R Boyle (1912–1918), minister of education, attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to remedy the situation. Their plan was to enact a statutory minimum teacher salary. That plan failed and it was with the establishment of the Alberta Teachers’ Alliance that teachers began to organize professionally and advocate for the improvement of the profession.

In todays episode we talk with current President Jason Schilling about the ATA, relations with the Provincial government, and what's next for the ATA.


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