The Alberta Teachers’ Association is continuing to advocate for the voice of the profession to be heard as new K–6 curriculum is developed in the province.
“We’re hoping that the voice of teachers is heard around curriculum … because teachers are the ones who will be responsible for delivering curriculum in classrooms,” said ATA president Jason Schilling.
Following a motion of non-confidence in the current curriculum processpassed by Provincial Executive Council in late October, the Association sent a letter to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange outlining the profession’s concerns about the curriculum design process being implemented. The letter included a call to reinstate the curriculum working groups that had been formed by the previous government.
On Nov. 17 news surfaced that LaGrange was reassembling the working groups, but instead of reinviting previous participants, she asked superintendents to recommend potential candidates, with a one-week deadline.
That same day in the legislature, NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman criticized LaGrange over the issue, stating that hundreds of Albertans have contributed their time and effort over many years to update the curriculum, and that the government has found nothing wrong with the work that was done.
“Isn’t it true that this minister doesn’t really want feedback from Alberta teachers and academics and that that’s why she’s rushing?” Hoffman asked.
LaGrange responded that Alberta Education is reaching out to the various deans of education in the province and also looking to consult with stakeholders.
“We’ve been very transparent that once the curriculum working group has a chance to revise and refine the curriculum when they look at it this fall, we are putting it out in the public,” she said.
Schilling attended a meeting of education stakeholders on Nov. 23. While next steps were discussed and questions asked, the draft curriculum hasn’t been made available for teachers to review, which concerns Schilling.
“One of our major concerns is that we used to have a stronger voice, a stronger representation at the table when it came to curriculum redesign,” he said.
He added that he’s pushed the minister to meet separately with him for a more thorough discussion of the curriculum development process, as he would like teachers to have an opportunity to see the draft curriculum and provide feedback.
When the curriculum initiative was rolled out by the previous government, it signed a memorandum of understanding that made the ATA an active partner in curriculum development. The current government cancelled the memorandum in the fall, leaving teachers feeling like they’d been silenced, Schilling said.
The draft K–6 curriculum is targeted to begin piloting in participating classrooms in September 2021. ❚