Teachers and Parents Score Curriculum Victory, but Much Work Remains

Release Date 2021 12 13

ATA president Jason Schilling has released the following statement in response to news that the government is halting most of the implementation of its disastrous draft K–6 curriculum.

“There is an important victory embedded in today’s announcement for students, teachers, parents and public education. Tens of thousands of Albertans—particularly teachers and parents—got involved and pushed hard with relentless advocacy. Today I applaud them. This change would never have happened without that tireless effort. When you advocate for students, it works. However, our work must continue.

“While this is a step in the right direction toward fixing this curriculum mess, there are still significant issues with the proposed content for the language arts, math, and phys ed and wellness programs.

“Never forget that the reason the past draft was so bad is because this government failed to properly and meaningfully involve teachers in its development. Despite today’s positive developments, all indicators suggest the government will continue to repeat this fundamental mistake. We released our comprehensive report of teacher feedback on curriculum in September, but still have not been invited to meet with ministry officials to discuss its content. 

“The minister is now announcing an implementation steering committee with no clear indication of how teachers will be represented. How can you realistically discuss implementation while the exact people tasked with implementation are locked out of the room?

“Transparency concerns also remain. The few teachers involved last year were under gag orders that were just recently removed, and those currently involved are also under gag orders. This is far from, ‘the most open and transparent process of curriculum development that has ever occurred in Alberta history.’

“Let me emphasize one more thing. The only reason changes are being announced today is because we stood up. Because we dared to stand up to them, the government is now attacking us on our professional side. But sharing our concerns about this flawed curriculum was driven by that professional side. Which is exactly why they want to deprofessionalize the Association and exactly why we cannot let them.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us. They still don’t have curriculum right; students are still learning in oversized classes; funding cuts are looming in the spring budget; and the government opened a whole new front last week in the attack on public education. We will continue to stand for education.”

Jason Schilling, ATA President

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.