Education minister pushes back against curriculum recommendations
EDMONTON -- Alberta's education minister is on the defensive after leaked documents appeared to show some recommendations being considered by a panel advising the government on the province's social studies curriculum.
The documents were made for Alberta Education and first obtained and reported on by CBC News.
They suggest changes to the school curriculum, including keeping the history of residential schools out of the classroom until at least Grade 5.
"To me, this is a mistake," said Amy Burns with the Werklund School of Education. "This is an example of us simply trying to erase a part of Canada's history."
"I felt very angry, and disappointed, and essentially felt disgusted," said Melissa Purcell, an Alberta Teachers' Association Indigenous education expert.
The province says some the suggestions were made by Chris Champion, a panel member who previously called teaching First Nations perspectives in classrooms a "fad."
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says Champion is just one member of the 17-person advisory panel.
"Advice is advice, it's not final," she said. "No final decisions have been made."
LaGrange also said the residential schools will be a part of the elementary school curriculum.
"We are absolutely committed to truth and reconciliation," she said. "That is non-negotiable."
A draft of the recommended curriculum will go to larger working groups, including teachers later this fall.
The draft is expected to be released to the public in January.
With files from Bill Fortier