Parents frustrated by a Calgary public school board decision not to offer an Arabic elementary-program say they plan to take their concerns up the chain to Alberta’s education minister.
But Thomas Lukaszuk told Metro late Thursday he is unlikely to intervene in such a matter.
“Part of the authority invested in locally elected (school) trustees is to develop programs that are either desired by or reflective of the community,” he said. “I will respect their choice.”
Parents who have consulted with Calgary Board of Education officials regarding the program for more than a year and a half, claiming it was supported by hundreds of parents and community members, were quick to point out the decision was never put to the board of trustees and instead fell squarely in the hands of administration.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” said father Fouad Jomaa, who hoped to enrol his four-year-old daughter Aisha in the proposed program for this fall.
Calgary Board of Education chief superintendent Naomi Johnson said that during more than a year and a half of evaluation of a possible program her staff struggled to find proper resources ‘ namely certified teachers ‘ for the program. Developing a new curriculum would also have posed challenges, she said.
“We know that (the parents) are disappointed; however, I would also say it’s even more disappointing to review a program that doesn’t sustain and doesn’t achieve objectives it needs,” she said.
Johnson said the board is now pursuing possible high school Arabic courses, but a posting for teachers published online weeks ago has not received any response.