Red Deer Pubic Schools says Alberta Education did the right thing by tapping the brakes on its K-6 curriculum rollout.
Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced on Monday that the province will be staggering subjects this fall and not introducing a new slate of subjects all at the same time as originally proposed. The K-6 curriculum for social studies, French immersion and francophone language arts, science and fine arts will be delayed.
“This announcement is a step in the right direction,” said Red Deer Public Schools board chair Nicole Buchanan in a statement on Tuesday. “We appreciate that the government was responsive to the significant concerns about the draft curriculum and its process from school boards, teachers, parents and the community.
“The government listened given the sentiment is felt across the education sector and the public at large,” said Buchanan. “While the development of a new curriculum framework has been over a decade in the making, we need to ensure we take the time needed to get this right.
“Ultimately, the curriculum belongs to all Albertans and it should reflect the hopes and aspirations we have for our students who are the future of this province.”
Red Deer Public Schools said the announcement to delay the curriculum will give teachers, coordinators, and other stakeholders “an opportunity to continue to review the proposed changes on the draft curriculum and provide constructive and meaningful input and feedback where necessary.”
Last April, the Red Deer Schools board voted unanimously not to participate in piloting the new curriculum in light of the concerns raised by many in the community and across the province.
Alberta School Boards Association, College of Alberta School Superintendents and the Alberta Teachers’ Association all pushed the government to delay the implementation and rewrite the draft curriculum.
Red Deer Schools noted LaGrange’s announcement included the delay of the overall implementation, as well as revisions or updates to the draft curriculum for English language arts, math and physical education and wellness, and delay of and significant changes to the launch of the draft Social Studies and Science curriculum.
The government plans to develop a blueprint for how much is to be learned and when. Red Deer Schools also points out that the government has said it will delay the rollout of the Grade 7-12 curriculum and will take a new approach.
“The K-6 curriculum needs to lay the foundation for future grades. Alberta Education needs to take lessons learned from the current process to ensure that the middle and high school curriculum is the best it can be and reflects the expectations of Albertans,” said Red Deer Public Schools.
“Our top priority is to ensure our students are prepared for their future in a dynamic and changing world,” said Buchanan. “Our students need the best curriculum that will allow them to prepare for their future.
“Moving forward, we will continue to expect the government to provide the best curriculum for our students and we will continue to hold them to account,” she said. “As the draft curriculum moves forward, we hope that genuine and authentic consultation with teachers, parents, students and the broader community will drive the process.”
The school division encourages parents and the community to review the new curriculum and provide input online through Alberta.ca/curriculum. Alberta Education says it is accepting feedback until next spring.