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Province looking for school boards to pilot the new K-6 social studies curriculum

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Edmonton Catholic Schools has announced it will pilot the new Alberta K-6 social studies curriculum next fall.

"Edmonton Catholic Schools is committed to the piloting phase to ensure our teachers can provide valuable feedback," Sandra Palazzo of Edmonton Catholic Schools said in a Friday news release. "Our approach is guided by collaboration with teachers, Alberta Education, and other jurisdictional partners to provide all students with the best possible learning experience."

The province introduced a revamped version of the curriculum on March 14 after being forced to scrap an earlier version due to complaints that it was racist and not age-appropriate.

Minister of Education Demetrios Nicolaides said since March 14, the province has received feedback from an additional 2,900 people with positive and negative comments.

"We did hear positive comments about increased emphasis placed on Indigenous peoples in histories, the increased emphasis on history and educating students about the importance of democracy," he told reporters on Friday.

"Of course, we also heard that there were some areas for improvement. Specifically, we heard that some grades might have too much content, and that some content may need to be moved to later grades."

Nicolaides says since March 14, content on tax studies has been moved from Grade 2 to Grade 5.

Content load for Grade 4 students has been reduced.

Additional content on First Nations, Inuit, and Francophone history have been added.

Content about racism, anti-semtism, and Islamophobia have also been added.

The government has committed $34 million as part of Budget 2024 to support curriculum piloting and implementation in the 2024-25 school year.

"Throughout the piloting process, teachers will be provided with the information and tools

they need to work with the draft curriculum in their classrooms," the province said in a news release.

School boards have until May 15 to let the province know if they plan to pilot the curriculum.

Feedback from those piloting the curriculum will be used in finalizing the curriculum before it's implemented in September 2025.

Nicolaides doesn't expect to see many major changes though.

"I think we've gotten the balance right there. So doors still open to minor, minor modifications, additions, deletions. So I'd be happily happy to incorporate those."

The Alberta Teachers Association is calling for the province to pause the rollout of the curriculum to get better feedback from teachers.

"We welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback on the social studies curriculum," ATA president Jason Schilling wrote in a Friday news release. "Unfortunately, teachers' recommendations are not reflected in this most recent draft. Rather than proceeding to pilot a curriculum that we know is flawed, let’s take the time needed to get it right and ready for the classroom."

Additionally he raised concerns about launching yet another new curriculum when four new subject curriculums have already been launched in recent years.

Schilling says launching the new curriculum when schools are already understaffed and overcrowded will only cause the system to be further overloaded.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Steven Dyer 

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