Teaching qualifications

Concerns persist over controversial Alberta program

Critics of Alberta’s new elementary school curriculum say they can understand the frustration of many municipalities opposed to a provincial police force.

Recently, Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro introduced the government’s plan for provincial policing in rural areas despite concerns from rural municipalities.

Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) president Jason Schilling said the province is equally committed to adopting its new curriculum, regardless of how many people have raised concerns.

“Tens of thousands of Albertans, teachers, university professors, parents, community members have said we don’t want this program, and the government is just continuing it no matter what. that they heard. I certainly saw the parallels between those two things,” Schilling said of the province’s emphasis on a new curriculum and a provincial police force.

In September, K-3 students will learn from a new math and arts and literature curriculum in English, while all K-6 students will learn from a new education curriculum physical and well-being.

This is the first phase of the new K-6 program.

Taylor Schroeter of the Albertans Reject Curriculum Draft Facebook group also saw similarities to the police plans.

“It’s a very loud voice opposing (a provincial police force), and they keep smiling and nodding like everything’s fine and everyone’s happy with it, and it’s not the case,” Schroeter said.

She said that when it comes to the program, parents feel snubbed.

“The government completely ignores us. They ignore our concerns. It’s extremely frustrating.

Alberta Education spokeswoman Katherine Stavropoulos said school divisions and staff have been preparing to implement the new curriculum since it was announced in March and updated drafts were released on April 13.

“The Alberta government remains committed to ensuring that elementary teachers are ready to teach the new curriculum this fall,” Stavropoulos said.

“In 2022-23, $59 million is being invested in teacher professional learning and learning and teaching resources to ensure teachers and students are equipped for the updated curriculum of the Kindergarten to Grade 6 in classrooms. This funding is part of a $191 million investment over three years to support the implementation of the curriculum across the province.

She said approximately $20 million was provided for teacher professional learning and release time for the implementation of the new curriculum in 2022-23, and was allocated to school authorities based on a rate of $800 per implementing teacher.

Alberta Education has also released a series of on-demand video resources to support learning opportunities for teachers.

Schilling said teachers have indicated through an ATA survey that they are worried about implementing a new curriculum as some students have to catch up after more than two years of COVID-19. 19 and the lack of time that teachers had to prepare to teach something new.

He said there has been a lack of consultation with teachers on the development of the programs and how they will be rolled out. No ATA representative was invited to sit on the Government Curriculum Implementation Advisory Council.

“These teachers working with this new curriculum are the ones who have to implement it and work with it, and have been completely ignored. I hope government and school boards will provide the support teachers need,” Schilling said.

Stavropoulos explained that a balanced and measured approach is being used to implement the new curriculum based on insights and advice from the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group and feedback from other education partners, including including current elementary school teachers, an elementary school principal, representatives of the College of Alberta School Superintendents, the Alberta School Boards Association and the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges of Alberta, who in turn pledged to their members.

“The members of the advisory group all have broad qualifications, expertise and experience working within the education system. We have also worked closely with school authorities who are helping their teachers prepare. »

Schroeter said the province did not respond to comments it received. The new school year is starting soon and worried parents are not going away.

“Everyone is bracing for impact,” she said.

Stavropoulos explained that renewing Alberta’s curriculum to emphasize the foundations of literacy and numeracy learning, and the outcomes students need for personal and professional lives rich, is a key government commitment to parents and students.

When the draft K-6 curriculum was released in March 2021, the government made a commitment to put in place a year-long transparent and open review process for the curriculum and that promise was delivered. .

“We listened to feedback on the project from Albertans, including parents, teachers, pilot school authorities and other education partners,” she said.

“Feedback from all engagement opportunities and classroom piloting informed the final curriculum in K-6 math, English arts and literature, and physical education and wellness.”


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