More Alberta school divisions decide not to pilot new K-6 draft curriculum
CALGARY -- Several Alberta school divisions have stated that they are not prepared to put the draft kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum in front of students and will not participate in the pilot during the 2021-22 school year.
The K-6 draft curriculum has faced criticism from parents, teachers and Indigenous groups since it was released and several school divisions have voiced concerns over its redesign and the impacts of the pandemic on the learning needs of students.
On Tuesday, Rocky View School's board of trustees and administration announced it also would not be participating in the pilot.
'While we appreciate that government has provided flexibility in piloting, we have heard from our administration and many parents and staff requesting that the pilot does not occur in RVS classrooms for a number of reasons. Piloting a new curriculum will only put more pressure on teachers, schools and the system while we work through recovering from the impacts of the pandemic,” said board chair Fiona Gilbert in a release.
“We have also heard concerns from stakeholders about some of the specific topics and approaches being utilized in the draft and are not prepared to put it in front of students at this time.”
RVS says it did a preliminary review of the draft curriculum and that it will now focus on bringing teacher and administrator groups together to “identify needed changes” and provide feedback to the province.
“In light of ongoing pandemic recovery efforts, we feel we can still provide meaningful feedback to government through expert teacher groups,” said Supt. Greg Luterbach. “We strongly believe that RVS teachers have valuable knowledge, expertise and perspective to help shape the draft curriculum.”
The G4 Nations — which includes the Bears Paw, Chiniki, TsuuT’ina and Wesley First nations — has also reviewed the draft curriculum and says that it cannot endorse it in its current form.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the G4 Nations called for a rewrite and review to recognize the history of First Nations in Alberta.
“It is the recommendation of the G4 Nations that a rewrite of the curriculum as presented is required. Some of the initial items for review include the history of First Nations, their relationship with Canada and the creation of provinces,” read a statement.
“This is Canada’s history and should be required as the basis of any curriculum. We do not understand why a non-native government would see that information placed at the end of a curriculum. The new curriculum has a glaring exclusion of the local Alberta First Nations history and stories, and more emphasis on Native American history. This is simply not-historically relevant nor pertinent in a K-6 curriculum in Alberta. American Native History would be better taught in high school and beyond.”
The G4 First Nations says it will establish an education table with the province to bring its concerns and proposals forward.
Last week, the Calgary Board of Education said it also had concerns with the curriculum and will not take part in the pilot.
On Wednesday, the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) told CTV News that it will hold a forum on Thursday, April 15 from 7-9 p.m. for parents and trustees to talk about the draft curriculum.
The CCSD says the board and administrative team will review the draft in detail and provide the opportunity for forum participants to ask questions.
The feedback from the forum will then be reviewed and the board says it will make its final decision at the April 28 public board meeting.
In Lethbridge, the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division has also decided not to partake in the pilot and validation process.
“Following careful examination and study by administrators, teachers, and trustees,” said Superintendent Ken Sampson in a post on the school division's website, “we recognize that the draft curriculum presented will not support the wellbeing and development of our students. Holy Spirit Catholic School Division remains committed to working closely with Alberta Education to the greatest extent possible to provide ongoing constructive feedback during the review process.”
For more information on the draft K-6 curriculum, visit the Alberta.ca website