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No confidence

November 17, 2020 Jen Janzen, ATA News Staff


Council seeks teacher return to curriculum work

Teachers have lost all confidence in the government’s curriculum process and are demanding the province re-engage teachers in future curriculum discussions.

On Oct. 23, Provincial Executive Council (PEC) passed a resolution expressing, on behalf of Alberta teachers, its lack of confidence in the processes for curriculum development introduced by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.


The PEC motion calls on the minister to restore the 2016 memorandum of understanding that established a partnership between the government and the ATA for the development of new curriculum. Council also called on the minister to convene working groups to consider, accept, modify or reject recommended changes to previous curriculum drafts.

The decision came after recommendations by a government-appointed committee were leaked to the news media suggesting that K–4 curriculum be edited to eliminate all references to residential schools and equity.

“We are honestly gobsmacked by these recommendations,” said ATA president Jason Schilling. “To suggest that young children should be learning about feudalism instead of residential schools, and should be memorizing lengthy lists of events and names is, frankly, embarrassing.”

Schilling added that advice such as this shows that teachers need to be part of the curriculum process.

“Teachers understand the readiness of young students for different pieces of content, and they understand what it means to bring curriculum to life in the classroom. If teachers aren’t at the table when curriculum development occurs, the curriculum is destined for failure.”

The Council motion also calls for the public release of any recommendations made to the curriculum working groups and by those groups. Schilling says these calls to action are a way for the province to avert the risk of discrediting itself.

Launched at the end of October, an online petition calling for the recently exposed curriculum advice to be immediately scrapped garnered more than 15,000 signatures in just over a week. In a letter to LaGrange on Nov. 4, Schilling reminded her that in the legislature, she admitted some of the recommendations weren’t realistic at the ages that were suggested.

“This is hardly a ringing endorsement of the curriculum advice you are receiving through the process that you yourself put in place,” he wrote.

To read more about the curriculum review and the ATA’s correspondence with Minister LaGrange, please visit > News and Info > News Releases. ❚



Resolution passed

At its meeting on Oct. 23, Provincial Executive Council (PEC) passed a resolution to call upon Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to

  • restore the 2016 memorandum of understanding between the ATA and the province that established a partnership for curriculum development;
  • recognize that pedagogy must be steeped in research;
  • affirm that curriculum working groups will be able to accept, modify or reject in part or in whole modifications made to the draft curriculum since the groups’ last submission;
  • affirm that all materials, including drafts, general information and recommendations provided to the curriculum working groups be publicly released when they are provided to the groups;
  • affirm that all recommendations and submissions made by the curriculum working groups to the minister will be publicly released when they are submitted.

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