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Teachers identify fatal flaws in draft curriculum

Curriculum Special

April 27, 2021

Preliminary results from an extensive survey on the draft curriculum show that 91 per cent of teachers are unhappy with the draft, including three in four teachers stating they are “very unhappy.”

“We wanted to give teachers time to review the documents and provide their feedback to us since the government failed to engage teachers in the curriculum process,” says Jason Schilling, president of the ATA. “But the preliminary data is overwhelming: this draft curriculum is fatally flawed.”


ATA ads calling for a moratorium on curriculum implementation appeared in newspapers throughout the province starting on April 16.


“Teachers are the experts. Teachers know what will work in a classroom and what will not, and they are overwhelmingly telling us that this curriculum won’t work for Alberta’s elementary students.”

Over 3,500 teachers, including school and central office leaders, completed the survey between March 29 and April 7, 2021. The respondents make up a highly representative sample of the Alberta elementary teaching population.

Schilling says that teachers’ analysis included assessing the curriculum in terms of the government’s own preset measures for success, including whether it was logical and developmentally appropriate and reflected diverse perspectives, lifestyles and beliefs.

“It is clear that the problem with this curriculum is that teachers were not sufficiently engaged in its development and their concerns were not addressed,” says Schilling. “The feedback shows that the government has failed its own mission. If the government is serious about producing a strong curriculum, it needs to listen to what teachers are telling them.”

The project features an online questionnaire open to all teachers and principals in Alberta’s public education system, including hundreds of elementary subject and grade-level specialists. A number of round-table discussions with subject-matter and curriculum development experts will follow in late spring.

Schilling says the ATA will provide updates and a final report to the government and the public throughout the process. The Association is prepared to make a positive contribution to addressing the curriculum’s flaws in an effort to develop a curriculum that is appropriate and coherent and enjoys broad public support among Albertans. ❚

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