Critics of Alberta’s proposed K-6 curriculum call the province’s decision to re-examine some parts of the draft is at best a minor victory.
On Monday, the province announced it will seek advice from a group of education and curriculum experts early in 2022 to further revise social studies and other subjects including fine arts, French, literature and science.
Taylor Schroeter, with the Facebook group Albertans Reject Curriculum Draft, said social studies curriculum was definitely the worst of the bunch, but there are still problems with math, English language arts, and physical education and wellness which will be implemented next fall.
“We’re not happy with the physical education and wellness. They’ve moved financial literacy from the social studies curriculum into the wellness curriculum where it clearly doesn’t belong,” Schroeter said.
She said a lot of content is still packed into the kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum draft, which is not necessarily age-appropriate. Students already struggling in math could fall further behind.
“Even if the math curriculum was 100 per cent flawless, to roll out a new curriculum in September is going to be very difficult for these kids who are in year three of a disrupted education already. Regardless of the quality of the curriculum, the timing is still not right.”
Support Our Students (SOS) Alberta says changes were minimal and cosmetic, and a complete curriculum rewrite is needed.
“SOS Alberta advocates for all students to have universal access to high quality education. This curriculum will not prepare students for the future and will fail Alberta children. Citizens must keep up the pressure,” said SOS executive director Medeana Moussa in a statement.
SOS said the province has not stepped back from its highly politicized approach to curriculum development, or from its exclusion of teachers and curriculum experts from meaningful input.
SOS renewed its call for the premier and the education minister to restore the curriculum development partnership with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA), dissolve the appointments of advisors selected at the recommendation of UCP politicians, and reconvene curriculum working groups from the previous rewrite that began under the Progressive Conservative government of Jim Prentice.
Schroeter agreed that another government-appointed advisory panel for social studies doesn’t instill confidence.
A report released last fall by the ATA showed several teacher surveys suggested the curriculum was skewed toward Eurocentric history, failed to teach students critical thinking skills and lacked accurate Indigenous perspectives.
She said pushing for change has parents feel like they’re “slamming against a brick wall” but Albertans Reject Curriculum Draft will continue to advocate for improvements and share information.
“Unfortunately there are still parents out there who don’t know what exactly is happening.”