Parents, teachers rally over Alberta’s K-12 curriculum

Concerns over Alberta’s kindergarten to Grade 12 draft school curriculum has prompted around 100 teachers and parents to rally on Saturday against the changes and cuts to education.

This week the government of the Northwest Territories announced they would be dropping the Alberta school curriculum in favour of the curriculum in British Columbia.

N.W.T. Education Minister R.J. Simpson made the announcement Thursday, after his department spent two years reviewing western Canadian school curriculums to see which one best reflected the territories’ educational priorities.

“We have gaps in achievement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students,” Simpson told CBC News this week.

“We need to ensure that we are teaching to Indigenous students in a way that they are going to relate to and is going to be valuable to them.”

Outside Calgary’s McDougall Centre on Saturday afternoon, Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling said teachers are already exhausted by the pandemic, and that concerns over the curriculum adds an extra layer.

“Trying to implement a curriculum that is not well-received, that is full of errors, that is not age or grade appropriate is causing higher stress,” he said.

Along with that, he says cuts to education funding as well as growing class sizes, have made people worried about the future of education in the province.

University of Alberta instructor Krista Li says she’s seen the negative effects of cuts to post-secondary education first hand, and that both students and teachers are fed up.

“It’s extremely tiring and extremely frustrating to have to come out and march in the streets and shame our government into action.”

The mother of two says she’s also rallying against the new draft curriculum — which she thinks replaces good, solid educational practices with ideology.

“We are trying to set our children up for the future. We are not trying to set them up for the past. And this curriculum, it’s dated. It is antiquated. It does not use best educational practices,” she said.

Minister responds

A statement from the minister of education says the government is listening to Albertans, and that it’s not too late to give their feedback on the curriculum.

“Further changes will be made to strengthen the draft content and we will continue to listen to all Albertans, including education stakeholders to ensure we have the best possible curriculum for our students once the content is finalized and implemented,” read the statement.

The new K-6 curriculum for social studies, French immersion and francophone language arts, science and fine arts will be delayed.

However the new English language arts, math and physical education and wellness curriculum will be implemented in September 2022.

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