Posted on Apr 6, 2021
ALBERTA NDP COMMITS TO REVERSING JASON KENNEY’S CURRICULUM, BUILDING NEW MATERIAL THROUGH BROAD PUBLIC CONSULTATION
EDMONTON - A Rachel Notley NDP Government would reverse the backwards changes to the provincial Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum put forward by Jason Kenney and the UCP and launch broad public consultations before introducing new drafts to pilot in Alberta’s classrooms.
Assuming the provincial election is held in Spring 2023 and Notley is successful in being elected, she said Tuesday the goal would be to have new drafts of the Kindergarten to Grade 4 curriculum in classrooms by fall 2024. She said drafts for later grades would follow in subsequent years and all Albertans would have the ability to provide input on the curriculum drafts.
“We have been overwhelmed with concerns from students, parents, teachers, subject matter experts and more about the curriculum put forward by Jason Kenney and his friends,” Notley said. “We’ve heard from Albertans that the curriculum being proposed will not prepare students for advanced education, for their careers and for their lives in general.
“In fact, this curriculum jeopardizes our economy by not providing children with the essential critical-thinking skills they need to succeed in a modern workplace and by implementing outdated educational practices that discourage more parents from choosing Alberta.”
“This curriculum was built in secret, and edited by hand-picked political advisors, including one with systemically discriminatory views. You cannot – and should not — build curriculum without broad buy-in from Albertans. This isn’t about Jason Kenney and his ideology, this is about Alberta’s education and the learning and skills we pass on to our future leaders.”
Contrary to repeated claims that the NDP curriculum rewrite was politicized, the truth is it was developed in concert with tens of thousands of educators, subject-matter experts and parents.
Alberta’s NDP has been fielding specific complaints about the proposed curriculum at www.KidsDeserveBetter.ca. Since Thursday, thousands of submissions have been received and many more have come through emails, phone calls and social media messages.
“Five Alberta school boards have already said they won’t pilot the Kenney curriculum — and it’s only been a week,” said NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman. “This harmful material is based on forcing young children to memorize long lists of trivia, rather than building their learning and understanding skills. It contains errors, it replaces important elements of Canadian history with American history and it deliberately removes or delays teaching the history, art, faith and culture of Albertans with non-European backgrounds.”
Hoffman also plans to bring forward an emergency motion to the Alberta Legislature Tuesday afternoon calling for an immediate halt to piloting of the Kenney curriculum until further consultation with the public was held.
Charles Barner, an 11-year-old Métis student from Edmonton, said the curriculum does little to recognize important contributions to Alberta’s history of the Metis people.
“I don’t see myself in this curriculum, or my family, or those who came before me,” Barner said. “This curriculum teaches more about European history than about the history of the Métis people who share such a deep connection with this land.
“I need to connect with my past to help me prepare for my future. I need better material taught in my school.”
Carla Peck, a professor of Social Studies in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta, said the social studies curriculum is based on flawed assumptions about how students learn, is written without knowledge of what is appropriate to teach young children and is not designed to prepare students for their roles as active citizens in society.
“The amount of knowledge to be memorized is completely unreasonable and overwhelming –
some university history courses aren’t as dense,” Peck said. “There is no logical sequence of topics and the learning that is supposed to happen from grade to grade doesn’t build on what came before. And, the topics themselves are so disconnected from students’ lives that it would be laughable if it wasn’t so concerning.”