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UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards
Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)

Red Deer Public Schools is the latest central Alberta school jurisdiction to decide that it will not pilot the new, controversial draft curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 6 students this fall.

The board of trustees voted unanimously against participating in the pilot on Wednesday.

“The new curriculum is over 500 pages long with many of the pages containing outcomes and objectives that are sound, providing the knowledge, skills and perspectives that students need. Some of the pages however, have raised issues, some of them significant, particularly on segments of the Social Studies curriculum. We concur with many of those concerns,” said Red Deer Public in a statement.

Last week Wolf Creek Public Schools also decided not to pilot the curriculum. Across the province, Calgary Board of Education, Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic, Elk Island Public, Wild Rose, Medicine Hat Public, Medicine Hat Catholic and Lethbridge Public have also decided not to pilot the program.

Red Deer Public said it wants to focus on recovery in the fall when students hopefully return to near normal conditions, but still wants to provide constructive and meaningful input on the draft without participating in the pilot.

“Given province-wide concerns with the new curriculum, we encourage Alberta Education to be flexible in piloting the new curriculum and request that they welcome and listen to feedback beyond pilot jurisdictions in order to improve the curriculum.”

The district said Alberta Education needs to take the lessons learned from the current process to ensure that middle and high school curriculum also reflects the expectations of Albertans.

“Whether it is this or past governments, politics seems to influence the process. Albertans must have confidence in the curriculum development process. We feel it would be beneficial for this to be an independent process that engages the best minds and takes a broad perspective on what critical skills and knowledge all students will need to succeed. There has to be a way for curriculum to be developed around sound and shared principles.”


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On Thursday, the Alberta Teachers’ Association called on the UCP government to stop all work on piloting and implementing the curriculum until an independent, open review and rewrite can be done.

ATA president Jason Schilling said survey results show 91 per cent of teachers and school administrators are unhappy with the draft curriculum.

“As of Wednesday, over 20 school boards have stood up and said they will not pilot this curriculum. We support these boards in this decision,” Schilling said.

“Premier (Jason) Kenney and his colleagues like to say that their policies are the result of listening to what Albertans told them loud and clear. The government has been told loud and clear by people across this province that this curriculum is unacceptable for modern schools based on the government’s own guiding framework.”

He said teachers have a professional and moral right to refuse to participate in the pilot. They want curriculum that is inclusive and shows diversity.

“Many believe putting it before children will cause harm. We cannot allow that to happen. Teachers, parents, education experts and school boards have all stood up and said no.”

Critics say the proposed curriculum is a jumble of random facts, has a disjointed structure, focuses too much on European history and contains learning concepts far above the abilities of youngsters.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says it strikes the right balance between math and social fundamentals, and teaches students about Canada’s history, including the contributions of francophones and Indigenous cultures.

– With files from the Canadian Press

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