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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Education is the fuel for any economy 

It seems to me that somewhere along the way Ralph and the boys forgot one of the basic lessons of economics- that education, not oil, is what fuels an economy.

So many other jurisdictions around the world are trying to improve faltering educational systems (as evidenced by a recent article in the Edmonton Journal which states that Edmonton's public school board is a model to follow). Ralph, it seems, is trying to break our system. Where does this come from? It certainly doesn't come from his predecessors. Don Getty and Peter Lougheed both made education a priority. I attended university when Getty was premier, and costs were fairly reasonable. I remember specifically hearing Peter Lougheed speak on the issue. His reasoning for making education a funding priority? During the great oil boom, Alberta became very dependent on oil, and that when oil prices fell, or oil dried up, Alberta would be left to rely on its people.

It seems to me that Ralph may have other reasons for wanting to break public education. The idea of more and more charter schools is something that has received lots of attention since Ralph became premier. Charter, and private schools are cheaper to run, because the public has to dish out more money for their kids to attend (although they have yet to do as well as public schools when it comes to results). Could this be the reason that public education is almost at breaking point? They are not profitable? Schools don't make any money, they are supposed to be an investment in the future of our province. Maybe, as a friend of mine stated, Ralph wants to ruin the public system, claim it is broken and then move to private schools...these make money, afterall.

Could there be other reasons yet? Is Ralph taking personally, some of the criticism, that he doesn't have a high level of formal education? I would hope that he would remember that he has won 3 elections; fairly impressive for a guy with little formal education, whether you agree with him or not. I would hope that he wouldn't be making decisions about the education of thousands based on his ego.

Finally, public education is tied closely to democracy. For the poor and the underprivileged, schools are a way to improve their lives and the lives of their families. This is a fundamental part of democracy; that all people have a chance to succeed, and not just those who can afford it. With 74 seats in the legislature, Ralph doesn't often have to worry about democracy and a just society.

The simple fact about education in today's world is that the more one has the better off a population is. The ideas that we produce in Alberta need to be better than they ever have been because we compete with the world more closely than ever before.

Our children and our province deserve a whole lot better.

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