EDMONTON — Teachers, teachers’ aides and their supporters rallied at the Alberta legislature Wednesday to protest the composition of a panel chosen by the United Conservative government to re-evaluate school curriculums.
“We’ve seen time and time again that governments will cave to public pressure,” organizer Emma Jackson said.
“I want to see the public kind of stand up and say: `You know what? This public education system is ours, is rightfully ours, and should be designed by us. And when it undermines public values, then we can rally together and stop that.”
The former NDP government completed a Kindergarten to Grade 4 curriculum review and the changes were set to be tested in Alberta classrooms this fall. However, Jason Kenney’s government decided to halt the roll-out and take another look.
The UCP created a panel for the curriculum re-evaluation. However, the government came under fire for not including any current Kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers in the group.
“To even imagine that you’re going to revise the .125curriculum.375 with no one who is currently in a classroom on a day-to-day basis is reprehensible,” Jackson said.
She said the panel also lacks Indigenous and LGBTQ voices.
The panel will be chaired by former Edmonton Public School Board Superintendent Angus McBeath. It includes members from post secondary institutions and career development organizations.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said she values the work teachers have done to this point, and they will still be involved, but for this panel she is looking for a different set of eyes.
“What I was really looking for were some external eyes on the various pieces we’ve developed thus far,” she said on Aug. 22. “Giving us… just a different perspective.”
The panel will come back with its recommendations on Dec. 20. A fresh round of consultations will follow.
Meanwhile, the NDP is accusing the UCP of playing politics and re-doing what’s already been done.
“We consulted hundreds of thousands of Albertans and it’s really disappointing to see that work is being slowed,” NDP MLA Janis Irwin said last week.