The ministry responsible for kindergarten to grade 12 (also known as primary and secondary education) is Alberta Education. The ministry has divided the province into 379 school authorities. The authorities are both public, private, charter, and separate. All school authorities are required to employ teachers who are certificated by Alberta Education under the Executive Director of Teaching & Leadership Excellence. The Ministry is also responsible for setting curriculum, or as it is officially referred to, programs of study.

There are 690 844 students in K-12 enrolled in Alberta as of the 2014/2015 school year.
In accordance with the School Act children are required to attend school from age 6 to 16, roughly kindergarten to Grade 11.

For many years the provincial government has provided the greater part of the cost of providing K-12 education. Prior to 1994 public and separate school authorities in Alberta had the legislative authority to levy a local tax on property, as supplementary support for local education. In 1994 the government of the province eliminated this right for public school authorities, but not for separate school authorities. Since 1994 there has continued to be a tax on property in support of K-12 education; the difference is that the mill rate is now set by the provincial government, the money is collected by the local municipal authority and remitted to the provincial government. The relevant legislation requires that all the money raised by this property tax must go to the support of K-12 education provided by school authorities. The provincial government pools the property tax funds from across the province and distributes them, according to a formula, to public and separate school jurisdictions and Francophone authorities.

In addition to the property tax collected, the provincial government allocates money, each year, from the General Revenue Fund, for the support of K-12 public and separate school education. In the case of the money drawn from the General Revenue Fund, it is also used to provide full financial support for charter schools, a type of public school that does not charge tuition (and receives the same funding per student that a public district school would receive). Private schools and homeschooling receive some funding, but parents will pay a substantial portion of the cost.

Since 1994 all school authorities with a civil electorate (public, separate, Francophone)[citation needed] are funded almost entirely by the provincial government. School authorities may, and many do, allow the school administration to levy fees for art supplies, textbook rentals, and transportation. There is however an appeals process which family's can undertake who can not afford the fees.

The school authorities are governed by trustees who are elected by the electorate of the authority. The school authorities may then appoint a superintendent who will then manage day-to-day operations of the authority while the board focuses on the organization of the system. Although, in some cases where private schools are their essentially their own school authority they do not appoint a superintendent. Schools then operate under the management of the school authority.

Students in Alberta have their courses mandated but normally after each section of schooling they are given more freedom in what they can choose to take. Then starting in high school most courses begin to be labeled with a dash, for example Math 20-1. Where "-1" is the highest level follow by "-2" ect. Courses are also labeled with a 10, 20, 30, or in some cases 31. Where 10 is the lowest is generally taken in grade 10 followed by 20 taken in grade 11 and so on. Although, there is no rule stating that you can not take for example math 20-1 in grade 10 assuming you have the prerequisites. All of the avaible courses can be accessed here.

Curriculum or Programs of Study
Changes in Curriculum

In 2008-2009 under the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta the government adopted a discovery/inquiry math based curriculum which has been both heavily criticized and lightly supported. While moderates have said that inquiry based learning can be effective if it is done correctly. This has largely been fuelled by the steadily decreasing PISA marks.
On Jun 15, 2016 the government announced that "Alberta Education would begin to develop new curriculum" "unlike any seen in Alberta" from K-12 within 6 years.

Western and Northern Canadian Protocol
In 1993 Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories ministers for education signed the Western Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic Education (WCP). In February 2000, Nunavut also joined NWCP. Its main goal is to create frameworks with learning outcomes in mathematics, language arts and international languages. In 2014 the agreement was placed in abeyance. Therefore, the WNCP is no longer developing curriculum frameworks.

City of Lloydminster Situation
The City of Lloydminster straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, and both the public and separate school systems in that city are counted in the above numbers: both of them operate according to Saskatchewan law.

Current issues for K-12 education in Alberta include, but are not limited to:
the balance of power between school authorities trustees and the province.
the level of funding and which school authorities tend to feel is inadequate.
the school class sizes are too large some say.
the funding allocated towards private schools
disputes between the school authorities and the province, over ownership and control of schools and local facilities;
issues over who locally elected school authorities, and their employees, are accountable to the manner curriculum is taught in, such as discovery learning, personalized learning and reform mathematics are being implemented by the education ministry, accompanied by much controversy.
the inclusion of LGBT topics in the health curriculum.

Alberta Initiative for School Improvement
The Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) was an Alberta government initiative which sought to "improve student learning and performance by fostering initiatives that reflect the unique needs and circumstances of each school authority."

Funding for AISI was suspended as part of the 2013 Alberta Budget.