Teachers Identify Fatal Flaws in Draft Curriculum

Release Date 2021 04 08

Preliminary results from an extensive survey on the draft curriculum show that 91 per cent of teachers are unhappy with the draft, including 3 in 4 teachers stating they are “very unhappy.” The curriculum evaluation project launched by the Alberta Teachers’ Association shows that 90 per cent of elementary school teachers are uncomfortable teaching the new K–6 curriculum, and 95 per cent of principals are uncomfortable supporting the curriculum in their school and community. 

“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. But the preliminary data is overwhelming: this draft curriculum is fatally flawed.

“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.”

Jason Schilling, ATA president 

The feedback also shows that teachers strongly believe the new curriculum is both age- and developmentally inappropriate and has not been logically sequenced. 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. 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.”

Jason Schilling, ATA president 

A PDF document with additional data from the survey is here

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. 

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, safeguards standards of professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with ATA President Jason Schilling, contact Mark Milne at 780-905-0014.