2.4 “Parental Rights” Special Series: Parental Rights As A Smokescreen for Privatization with Heather Ganshorn

2.4 “Parental Rights” Special Series: Parental Rights As A Smokescreen for Privatization with Heather Ganshorn

Episode Description
In the fourth and final episode of a four part mini series about “parental rights”, Stephen and Shannon speak with Heather Ganshorn from SOS Alberta.

Heather Ganshorn is the Research Director for Support Our Students Alberta, a volunteer organization that advocates for an equitable and accessible public education system. SOS believes that privatization threatens public education by diverting dollars from accountable systems that serve all children to unaccountable private providers who serve a customer niche rather than the public interest. Heather has written a number of media articles and op eds on current issues related to privatization and curriculum in Alberta. She is also an academic librarian at the University of Calgary, with experience in research support and knowledge synthesis.

Through this episode, Stephen and Shannon speak to Heather Ganshorn about the ways that the parental rights movement advance and legitimize privatization of/in public schools. Ganshorn describes the parental rights movement as a smokescreen for groups with a broader culture war agenda. In addition, Ganshorn elucidates the connection between groups stoking fear about parental rights and those calling for more school choice. Stephen and Shannon ask Heather about specific examples within Alberta and also what she has noted about the spread and alliances of parental rights groups across Canada. Ganshorn offers a clear answer about the problem of increased parental choice; these choices are not available to everyone and leave schools to make choices about students.

Episode Resources
Carter, M. (2008). “Debunking” Parents’ Rights In The Canadian Constitutional Context. The Canadian Bar Review, 86(3), Article 3. https://cbr.cba.org/index.php/cbr/article/view/4085

Cowen, J. (2022, July 20). After two decades of studying voucher programs, I’m now firmly opposed to them. The Hechinger Report. http://hechingerreport.org/opinion-after-two-decades-of-studying-voucher-programs-im-now-firmly-opposed-to-them/

Ganshorn, H. (2023, January 23). Populism, Polarization and Privatization in Alberta Education. The Monitor. https://monitormag.ca/articles/populism-polarization-and-privatization-in-alberta-education/

Ganshorn, H. (2022, November 8). Undermining public education. Education Forum. https://education-forum.ca/2022/11/08/undermining-public-education/

Ganshorn, H., & Moussa, M. (2022, September 1). Beware “privatization creep” in education system. Leaderpost. https://leaderpost.com/opinion/heather-ganshorn-medeana-moussa-beware-privatization-creep-in-education-system

LeBrun, L. (2024, January 8). Conservative MP Helped Draft Text of Conspiratorial United Nations Petition, Author of Petition Says. PressProgress. https://pressprogress.ca/conservative-mp-helped-draft-text-of-conspiratorial-united-nations-petition-author-of-petition-says/

Magusiak, S. (2022, September 16). Danielle Smith Backs Plan to Spend More Public Dollars on Elite Private Schools and Homeschooling. PressProgress. https://pressprogress.ca/danielle-smith-backs-plan-to-spend-more-public-dollars-on-elite-private-schools-and-homeschooling/

Magusiak, S. (2023a, April 27). New Data Shows Danielle Smith’s Education Plan Benefits Wealthiest Socioeconomic Households. PressProgress. https://pressprogress.ca/new-data-shows-danielle-smiths-education-plan-benefits-wealthiest-socioeconomic-households/

Magusiak, S. (2023b, April 30). Mapping Canada’s Right-Wing Networks. PressProgress. https://pressprogress.ca/mapping-canadas-right-wing-networks/

Magusiak, S. (2023c, October 26). Right-Wing ‘Take Back Alberta’ Group Purges Top Organizers As It Plans to Target School Boards Across Canada. PressProgress. https://pressprogress.ca/right-wing-take-back-alberta-group-purges-top-organizers-as-it-plans-to-target-school-boards-across-canada/

Ravitch, D. (2023, January 8). Josh Cowen: The Extremism of the School Privatization Movement. Diane Ravitch’s Blog. https://dianeravitch.net/2023/01/08/josh-cowen-the-extremism-of-the-school-privatization-movement/

Additional Resources
SOS Alberta: https://www.supportourstudents.ca/Have You Heard Podcast: https://www.haveyouheardpodcast.com/

Bookmark (0)
ClosePlease login


Shannon D. M. Moore

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba

Shannon D.M. Moore is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Manitoba. Prior to joining the faculty, Shannon was a social studies and English teacher in the public school system in British Columbia for 19 years. Shannon is a public education advocate, and a founding member of People for Public Education Manitoba (@PublicEdMB). Moore’s research interests include media and digital literacies in the social studies classroom, the impacts of online learning on teachers and teaching, and the impacts of neoliberalism on public education.

Stephen Hurley

Chief Catalyst voicEd Radio Canada

Stephen Hurley has spent nearly 40 years as an educator. He has experience as a classroom teacher, a curriculum consultant, a teacher educator and a policy observer. As the founder and chief catalyst at voicEd Radio, Hurley is passionate about nurturing stronger relationships between education research, practice and policy.