By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – On March 10, 2022 the government of Alberta announced that the implementation of its controversial primary school curriculum would begin this September.
The roll-out of the new curriculum will begin with the younger students, with the redrafted subjects of math and English language arts being taught to grades 1 to 3.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has said that the new subjects being introduced are areas in which children are struggling. ”These are two key areas where some of our youngest learners are experiencing challenges,” she said.
“Our government committed to teaching students essential knowledge to help them develop a strong foundation for future learning, and we committed to improving student outcomes in reading, writing, and mathematics.”
Furthermore, the phys-ed curriculum will also be taught to all K-6 grades in the fall, with LaGrange saying, “This will support students learning how to build resiliency and manage their health, mental health and well-being — life skills that are more important now than ever.”
After this initial phase, the government will be implementing the new math and English language arts subjects for grades 4 to 6 next year in September 2023.
The government is expected to release a timeline for the remaining subjects by May this year, however Alberta has already earmarked $191 million for the new curriculum.
“Moving forward with curriculum development and implementation is essential to help prepare our students for a rapidly changing labour market,” LaGrange said. “A new curriculum will set them up on the best path forward for success. Our students deserve this new curriculum.”
However the draft has been met with heavy opposition since it was announced.
On the same day as LaGrange’s announcement, the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) released a report detailing data from a survey regarding the new draft.
Out of 825 teachers, it found that only 3 percent believe that they have the supports and resources they require to successfully implement this curriculum in the fall.
The independent poll of teachers and the public, conducted by Environics Research, also shows that nine out of ten teachers and half of Albertans do not feel the draft curriculum will provide students with the skills and knowledge they require for future success.
“Implementing new curriculum in one grade and one subject requires a significant amount of planning, preparation and resource development on behalf of individual teachers,” said ATA president Jason Schilling.
“Expecting teachers and schools to implement curriculum in four grades and three subject areas all at once next school year is a recipe for chaos after two very exhausting years for teachers and administrators. Just stop!”
However LaGrange has said that she has not seen the results of the survey, but “in the past, the surveys that were responded to by teachers through the ATA were very small numbers.”
“We do believe there will be enough time to implement,” she said.
The final curricula being implemented this fall will be posted in April at new.learnalberta.ca.