UPDATE: Due to the Battle of Alberta matchup between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oiler, the meeting date has been changed to Thursday, May 19. Same time, same location.

Cochrane is hosting the first-ever event for the newly-formed Alberta Parents’ Union this Thursday, May 19.

It's being held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cochrane Lions Events Centre and is open to all interested people.

Launched on May 12, the Alberta Parents’ Union (APU) is an organization of Alberta parents advocating for the best possible education for all Alberta students, whether that be public, separate, francophone, alternative, charter, or independent, or home education. 

Executive director Jeff Park says he'll provide an overview of the organization before they open the floor to questions and comments, then break into round table discussions.

Jeff ParkJeff Park, executive director of the Alberta Parents' Union.

"We're giving a broad range of people a chance to speak out on what they care about in the K-12 education system, make themselves heard, and really give us guidance for our advocacy going forward so that we can make sure we're doing the very best job we can to represent all the parents in this province," says executive director Jeff Park.

It's a 23-stop tour that hits all corners of the province to discuss the challenges faced in education in recent years, current issues affecting children and their schools, and what opportunities exist to further advance education in Alberta.

While it's not perfect, Park says Alberta has a world-class education system because it offers more choice and more pluralism in the education system than almost any other place in the world.

In the last set of international ratings conducted before the pandemic, Alberta students scored third in reading and fourth in science among all educational jurisdictions in the world, despite being seventh out of our 10 provinces in spending.

They believe that the unique environment of choice has begun to be threatened by opportunistic politicians and extremely organized activist groups.

The Alberta Parents' Union resonates with Cochranite Lindsay Wilson, who is president of Alberta Proud and a mother of three children, whom she suspects will go to different styles of schools based on their needs, skills, and development.

"From the perspective of Alberta Proud, we're all about choice, freedom, autonomy, these sorts of things, and I just think something is that is founded by parents, for parents to advocate for students so that we have the best possible choices in education to meet any students needs, and to advocate that we maintain that, I just think it speaks to anyone who follows Alberta Proud and connects with our group."

The Alberta Parents’ Union is a completely voluntary organization without compulsory membership or membership dues.