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Public education rally draws a crowd as Albertans take shots at the UCP

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About 100 Albertans gathered for a rally in support of public education Saturday.

Standing in front of Calgary's McDougall Centre, speakers discussed recent changes to the way students learn and teachers teach under the UCP government.

They say it's putting the province at a disadvantage.

"We are here today to stand up for public education," Medeana Moussa with Support Our Students said. "It's under rapid fire by the UCP."

A number of issues were mentioned during the hour-long event, but perhaps none were more controversial than a UCP rewrite of teaching materials.

"This curriculum is regressive, it's outdated and it is not going to prepare students for their future," Moussa said.

It was announced this week that schools in the Northwest Territories will phase out the use of Alberta's curriculum as the rewrite is paused for more consultation.

The province says the pause is to speak with more people and that it may bring, according to the premier, "improvements and changes."

Many at the rally are also concerned about school funding and what they believe to be a push towards privatization in the education system.

The province maintains funding has stayed relatively consistent since it took office, but many point out that as schools expand, money per-student has decreased.

Rally-goers also discussed a recent "attack on teachers" from the province.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange took shots at the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) after revelations it did not report one of its members who admitted to “mentally and physically" abusing his students to police.

"Teachers have felt disrespected and demoralized by this government for years," ATA president Jason Schilling told CTV News. "Once you ruin that culture in our schools in Alberta, it's going to take a really long time to build that back."

Earlier this month, LaGrange said that "the teacher discipline process needs to be improved." Her ministry is currently looking in to the matter.

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