Education panel provides recommendations for updating Alberta's curriculum
CALGARY -- A government advisory panel tasked with modernizing school curriculums has released a number of recommendations and Albertans are now being asked to weigh in through an online survey.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange appointed a review panel in August 2019 to revamp and "enhance" the framework in all grade levels for both students and staff.
“We committed to improving the education system so our students receive an education that equips them with the skills they need to succeed in life," she said in a release.
"As part of the curriculum review process, we committed to broadening consultation to hear a wider range of perspectives."
The panel’s full report can be found online, and can be read at the bottom of this article.
The government press release outlined six 'highlights,' including:
- Ensuring the curriculum remains free from the prescription of pedagogical approaches, like discovery math
- Addressing financial literacy, work readiness, wellness and goal-setting to enhance students’ life skills
- Implementing standardized assessment tools to evaluate literacy and numeracy in Grades 1 through 5
- Aligning the draft K-4 curriculum from 2018 with the new vision for student learning
- Providing students with work-integrated learning opportunities
- Ensuring First Nations, Metis and Inuit learnings continue to be reflected in the curriculum
The Curriculum Advisory Panel is being chaired by Angus McBeath — a former superintendent for Edmonton Public Schools — and vice-chaired by Jen Panteluk, the former CEO of Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta and Northwest Territories.
"The curriculum advisory panel offered up recommendations to help ensure students have the foundational knowledge, skills and competencies they will need beyond high school to live their best lives," McBeath said in a release.
The panel has received some criticism, namely around the fact no active teachers or Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) members were appointed to it.
The UCP effectively ended its agreement with ATA in curriculum development.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by the former NDP government and designated the ATA as the lead on the six-year project.
LaGrange called the agreement "too restrictive."
ATA officials said it did not prevent the government from doing broader consultations and expressed concern about teachers’ involvement moving forward.
ATA spokesperson Jonathan Teghtmeyer said they will need time to read report before commenting on specifics.
"This is obviously very important stuff, it’s a complex document with 26 recommendations. We are going to have to take some time to review it further and analyze it," he said.
"Teachers are going to be expected to implement this curriculum so it’s really important that we take a thoughtful approach, spend some time to understand what the recommendations are here and respond to them."
LaGrange said despite not having a seat on the panel, 350 teachers are still a part of the curriculum development group and her team has been in constant contact with the ATA.
"I think the indication that we came here really just to listen and find out about this report speaks to the involvement and the engagement of the association as part of this process," said Teghtmeyer.
He added staff and ATA members had one meeting with small sub group of panellists, during which they had a "short discussion."
"I'm worried that this report and this panel is indicative of government not necessarily going out and doing meaningful consultation with the people that matter on the files that matter right now," he said.
Albertans can weigh in through an online survey, which is available until Feb. 24.
The fulll report can be read below: