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'Not suitable': Teachers report slams Alberta’s draft curriculum

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Edmonton -

A report issued by the Alberta Teachers’ Association calls on the province to review its proposed K-6 draft curriculum, claiming the current version is deficient in several respects. 

“The draft curriculum does not meet the standards of Alberta program of studies (curriculum) and is not suitable for piloting or implementation in Alberta elementary classrooms,” reads the report. 

“This draft curriculum was motivated by a political timeline, and the development process was designed to limit input and restrict dialogue.”

It cites 14 specific problems with the planned curriculum, including: 

  • Little relationship between the goals for student learning and the new curriculum
  • Failure to represent a variety of ideas and viewpoints
  • Focuses on content and prescribes pedagogy
  • Francophone and First Nations content is under-included
  • Themes of literacy, numeracy, citizenship and practical skills are too narrowly defined

The report is drawn from survey responses from more than 6,500 Alberta teachers including subject specialists, diversity specials and school and system leaders. 

It also includes a letter to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange stating that now is not the time to pilot and implement a new curriculum and urging her to undertake the proposed review.

“The draft curriculum does not measure up,” reads the letter from ATA president Jason Schilling. 

“It is not what Albertans deserve and have become accustomed to over the previous decades. Further, it will not serve Alberta’s students in preparing them for an uncertain future or equip them to respond to the economic, social and technological challenges ahead.”

The letter also implies that teachers tried to meet with LaGrange but was told she was not available.

"I regret that your schedule would not permit a meeting in the entirety of the month of September and would very much have appreciated the opportunity to discuss the report with you in greater detail."

LaGrange declined an interview request but her press secretary issued a statement saying the report will be "carefully considered." 

"Teachers have and will continue to be involved in every step of the way as we continue the year-long review process," the statement reads, citing 380 teachers who are piloting draft curriculum content as well as the 100 teachers involved in the K-6 curriculum working group.

The province’s revised curriculum has drawn heavy criticism since it was published. 

In April, the ATA said 91 per cent of teachers were unhappy with it, with the union calling it “fatally flawed.” 

Also that month, a University of Calgary professor found that parts of the curriculum appeared to have been plagiarized.

Last month, government MLA Tracy Allard posted a public letter to Minister LaGrange saying she had heard “repeatedly from constituents and stakeholders outlining their concerns” and urging the government to “slow down” work on curriculum.

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