Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees and Administration have decided to not pilot the draft K-6 curriculum released by the government of Alberta, as it’s anticipated COVID-19 will impact the 2021/22 school year.
“While we appreciate that the government has provided flexibility in piloting, we have heard from our administration and many parents and staff requesting that the pilot does not occur in RVS classrooms for a number of reasons. Piloting a new curriculum will only put more pressure on teachers, schools, and the system while we work through recovering from the impacts of the pandemic,” said Board Chair Fiona Gilbert.
“We have also heard concerns from stakeholders about some of the specific topics and approaches being utilized in the draft and are not prepared to put it in front of students at this time,” she said.
RVS Administration completed a preliminary review of the draft curriculum which spans seven grades and eight subject areas.
“In light of ongoing pandemic recovery efforts, we feel we can still provide meaningful feedback to government through expert teacher groups,” said Superintendent Greg Luterbach.
“We strongly believe that RVS teachers have valuable knowledge, expertise, and perspective to help shape the draft curriculum. RVS will focus our efforts on bringing groups of teachers and school administrators together to engage with the draft curriculum and provide feedback to the government through this mechanism. It will help us better understand the nuance in the drafts and provide opportunities for teachers to help identify needed changes to the draft curriculum,” he said.
“We welcome that updated curriculum is being tackled in Alberta and believe that an update can provide an opportunity to build on what is working well while helping to develop the next generation of Albertans,” Gilbert said.
Adding, “We encourage all stakeholders to spend some time with the actual draft curriculum and provide specific feedback to the government to help ensure that the curriculum meets the current and future needs of students.”
In response to the release of the draft K-6 curriculum, the Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA) is calling for the government of Alberta to cease all work on the piloting and implementation of the draft curriculum until an independent, full review and rewrite can occur.
“Alberta’s students and teachers require an appropriate and workable curriculum. The government is being told loudly and clearly that this curriculum is unacceptable. We now need the government to announce a stop to their implementation plans and to spell out a new way forward,” said ATA President, Jason Schilling.
The ATA is supporting school boards that have decided not to pilot the draft curriculum.
“Teachers who believe this curriculum is unsound and potentially damaging to student learning have the professional responsibility and moral right to refuse to participate in voluntary piloting. The government and school boards must respect the decision of individual teachers to not participate in piloting,” Schilling said.
Schilling added Alberta teachers are willing to assist the government with the curriculum rewrite that reflects their extensive expertise and knowledge.
“We are committed to supporting the development of a high-quality curriculum, and the ATA is prepared to work constructively in partnership with the Government of Alberta toward that end. It is the only workable path forward. We just need to be invited,” he said.
The call to stop work on the draft curriculum pilot followed the release of preliminary survey results showing that 91 per cent of teachers and school administrators are unhappy with the draft curriculum, with three in four teachers stating that they are “very unhappy.”
The survey also showed that 90 per cent of elementary school teachers feel uncomfortable about teaching the new K–6 curriculum, and 95 per cent of principals feel uncomfortable about supporting the curriculum in their school and community.
The ATA is directing parents and the public who are concerned about the draft curriculum to pledge support for the moratorium and review by visiting curriculum.thelearningteam.ca.
Feedback can be provided to the government by visiting, http://alberta.ca/curriculum.