Voices grow louder over governments proposed teachings in new curriculum
“To be blunt, I feel it is flaming garbage,” Taylor Schroeter, a parent from Beaumont, said.
“There are some things that aren't completely awful. But I don't think there's enough there to make it worthwhile or to make it acceptable to give to our children."
As frustrations continue to mount, there are concerns kids will be learning too much at the wrong age. For example, the Grade 2 program as it currently stands would include teachings of the Black Plague, Genghis Kahn and the Roman Empire.
"To think about trying to bring things in like the Black Plague? I think that will scare my child,” Schroeter said. “I don't think that's something he needs to learn at seven years old.
"The kids may hear it, but they will not retain it."
Another area highlighted by Schroeter as a possible oversight is the lack of a “single mention of LGBTQ2S+ anything.”
Schroeter told CTV News Edmonton she has a daughter in Grade 3 who identifies as transgender. This is partially why she’s concerned about the lack of LGBTQ2S+ content at all levels.
“I'm really disappointed,” she added.
'THIS PAGE IS NOT POLITICAL'
Schroeter is not alone in her views, an anti-curriculum Facebook group for parents was created shortly after the announcement on Monday. It already has more than 8,000 members.
“This page is not political. There are people who are unhappy with this curriculum who are UCP supporters,” Schroeter said.
“The current curriculum that is in place right now, was put into place by a conservative government, and I would happily stay with this outdated curriculum than move to this new curriculum."
'IT LOOKS MORE LIKE RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS'
According to Carla Peck a social studies professor at the University of Alberta, religious concepts are generally taught in Grade 6 and the new curriculum has it being introduced four grades earlier in Grade 2.
“It looks more like religious teaching, as opposed to teaching about religion because it specifically says you should teach the stories from the bible,” Peck said.
“That to me has absolutely no place in publicly funded schools in Alberta, or elsewhere for that matter.”
Peck told CTV News Edmonton if the social studies component is implemented in the fall, it could set Alberta back decades.
“There are university history classes that wouldn’t have the combination of content in one class that we’re asking students in grades two and three to do,” Peck added.
The premier and minister of education have defended the social studies curriculum, saying it provides balanced context for history.
“This can be taught in an entirely age-appropriate way,” Jason Kenney, Alberta premier, said.
“I anticipate that the vast majority of teachers will in fact embrace the curriculum,” Adriana LaGrange, minister of education, added.
According to the government, the curriculum is the result of advice and feedback from 19 subject matter experts, 30 academics and more than 100 current Alberta teachers.
In response to the government, Schroeter said: “As far as if I think it's salvageable, that would heavily depend on whether they even are listening.”
Some Albertans also took to social media after the curriculum was unveiled, alleging the age-old practice of nepotism; because the premier’s grandfather, Mart Kenney, was written into the draft curriculum.
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The plan moving forward is to pilot the new programming in some classrooms this September, with a full rollout in 2022.
“I don’t think this new draft solves the problems that we had,” Schroeter said. “I think it presents new problems.”
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett