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Curriculum to be the hot topic at ARA 

May 12, 2021 Kate Toogood, ATA News Staff


The Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) returns to Zoom on the May long weekend, and this year’s event will feature another hot topic that starts with “C”: curriculum.

From May 22 to 24, approximately 450 teacher representatives from 61 locals will come together to debate Association policy and its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Included in the proceedings will be debates on Provincial Executive Council (PEC) resolutions, many of which are related to the new draft K–12 curriculum.

“The response to the government’s draft curriculum was swift and strong, particularly from teachers, so it is no surprise that curriculum is leading on the agenda,” said ATA president Jason Schilling. “I’m expecting to have a lot of great debate around curriculum and how we as a profession should move forward to respond.”

Included on the ARA agenda are resolutions regarding curriculum content, consultation, the development process and partnership.

“The Association has worked with successive governments and ministers of various political orientations over many decades, and while we have had differences of opinion, we have usually been able to find common ground on some issues,” Schilling said. “The unceremonious termination of this relationship by the current government is harmful for public education, because it means they are not listening to teachers. So we need to discuss how to move forward and what can be done to repair this partnership.”

Since the early 1990s, ARA has taken place in a hotel/convention centre over the May long weekend, alternating each year between Calgary and Edmonton, but in 2020 it took place in August in an online format due to the global pandemic. Following this successful implementation, the 2021 program will remain a virtual event while reverting to the May long weekend.

“We were very pleased with how members embraced the new format, proving just how engaged teachers are in the governance of the profession,” Schilling said. “It was definitely a challenge to organize, but the ability for staff to pivot and for members to be flexible is a testimony to how important ARA is to everyone at the Association.” ❚


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