NDP and ATA call on UCP to cancel curriculum pilot

by Stephen Dafoe

Alberta’s NDP Official Opposition called on Jason Kenney’s UCP government to cancel their controversial K-6 pilot program, citing a month of overwhelmingly rejection by school boards, teachers, Francophone and Indigenous groups, and parents.

“Albertans have spoken up loud and clear about this curriculum and they are giving it a failing grade,” said NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman in a media release Wednesday morning. “School districts representing more than 70 per cent of Alberta students have decided not to pilot this curriculum. These are urban boards and rural boards, public, separate, Francophone boards. They’re in the north, the south and central regions of Alberta. And more are joining them every day.”

Edmonton Public Schools agreed Monday to call for a no-confidence vote on the curriculum at the upcoming Alberta School Boards Association meeting, and that organization took out full-page ads in print media this week. The ad expresses the view that the province’s teachers “do not have confidence in the content and design of the draft K-6 curriculum.”

“Given the extensive concerns identified by many, the ATA is calling on the Government of Alberta to immediately stop working on the piloting and implementation of the Draft K-R Curriculum until an independent, full and open review and rewrite can occur.”

A petition from a Beaumont parent has garnered 11,000 signatures of Albertans opposed to the curriculum from 95 Alberta communities.

“We stand united together to demand a curriculum for our children that is inclusive, accurate, forward-thinking, relevant and age-appropriate,” said Taylor Schroeter who started the position. “The 11,723 signatures on these pages represent Albertan’s [sic] across all political backgrounds who are calling on our government to do what’s right for our children. This draft is not it.

“We have heard from parents from all walks of life and across many ethnicities, religions and cultures who do not feel this draft accurately represents them or their children.”

NDP Education Critic Hoffman plans to table Schroeter’s petition in the legislature next week.

Hofmann said the message to Albertans is clear. What is unclear, she said, is whether the premier is capable of hearing it.

“He’s spending taxpayers’ money on radio ads and Facebook ads but that’s not going to work,” Hoffman said. “Jason Kenney needs to stop advertising and start listening.”