The current government did not accept the previous 2018 Curriculum draft that had been created after an extensive rewrite by school subject expert authorities and teachers. This same engagement was not evident in the development of the new 2021 K-6 Draft Curriculum. Alberta Education has announced an implementation date of September 2022.
Usually, with any proposed new curriculum, school boards are requested to pilot a portion or all of the curriculum. This request was made to all boards for the K-6 proposed curriculum. Over 90% of school boards in Alberta turned down the offer, including Parkland School Division.
In my opinion, there are two important issues to address with the new K-6 Proposed Curriculum: (1) the curriculum content itself, and (2) the implementation deadline.
As Board members, we have received numerous emails from parents and staff outlining serious concerns about the content of the curriculum, developmental age-appropriateness, scope and sequence, and unrealistic expectations for teaching and learning. I support expert, research-based input to address these concerns raised by our educational community and stakeholder groups:
The Alberta Teachers’ Association claims the proposed curriculum is not logically sequenced, is developmentally inappropriate, has narrowly defined content, lacks support for inclusive classrooms, and lacks indigenous content (appears as tokenism).
The Alberta Council for Environmental Education states “ We found there is much to be improved with the content and many important aspects of environmental, energy and climate change education that have not been included.”
Healthy Schools Lab states “We would argue that the draft K-6 curriculum does not align with current educational research in the field of physical and health education.”
The Confederacy of Treaty No. 6 Chiefs and the Metis Nation of Alberta are calling for the curriculum to be redone and want a seat at the table. The Confederacy of No. 6 Chiefs called the new draft curriculum “a Eurocentric, American-focused, Christian dominant narrative” and “perpetuates rather than addresses systematic racism.” Article 62 i) from the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action in Relation to Education states “Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.”
Additionally, the draft curriculum does little to address gender identity, expression or orientation.
Alberta Education is still seeking input via (a) a public survey, (b) reports from those schools who did pilot, and (c) input from non-pilot participating boards. Input is requested to be submitted by the Spring of 2022. This timeline is not appropriate and does not provide enough time for Alberta Education to compile all of the feedback received and to do a thorough analysis to make necessary changes. I propose a pause on implementation from September 2022 to September 2023 to allow for a thorough review and necessary rewrite of the current proposal.