By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – The Alberta Government has announced a delay in the full implementation of its proposed revision to the provincial curriculum for Kindergarten to grade 6.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said that while K-6 students will begin learning the revised subjects of English/language arts, math, physical education and wellness in September 2022, the other subjects of fine arts, social studies, French and science have been be delayed.
The postponement also delays implementing the revised subjects in junior and senior high schools.
“We really want implementation to be successful, and what we’re hearing is that for it to be successful, we have to slow the pace down,” said Lagrange.
The province has said that the reason for the delay is due to the level of concern about the social studies draft, which has been described by critics as “Eurocentric,” to say the least.
The education ministry has said they will continue re-working the subjects of social studies, science, French and fine arts and plan to release new drafts by spring.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) — one of the most out-spoken critics of the new curriculum — said they were pleased with the delay.
However, ATA president Jason Schilling said, “While this is a step in the right direction toward fixing this curriculum mess, there are still significant issues with the proposed content for the language arts, math, and phys ed and wellness programs.
“Never forget that the reason the past draft was so bad is because this government failed to properly and meaningfully involve teachers in its development. Despite today’s positive developments, all indicators suggest the government will continue to repeat this fundamental mistake.”
The ATA then mentioned that the Government has yet to meet with them to discuss the content of the curriculum.
The Metis Nation of Alberta, in association with the Rupertsland Institute (RLI), also wants further engagement with the Alberta Government and they are currently waiting to receive the new social studies curriculum containing Métis content for review and comment.
Lorne Gladu, Rupertsland Institute CEO said, “No history of Canada can exclude the historic and contemporary contributions of the Métis people … There is no greater tool to bridge reconciliation than what is taught in the classroom, and right now, Alberta has the opportunity to teach the real story of this land, and we are eager to provide input on the Métis experience.”
The curriculum has also come under fire in the Northwest Territories (NWT), who announced earlier this month that they may drop their use of the Alberta curriculum.
The NWT’s Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) allegedly spoke to key education partners — including Indigenous governments, education bodies, and the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association — to determine the questions and concerns that revolve around the renewal of the K-12 school curriculum.
“The 19th Legislative Assembly is committed to improving student education outcomes in the Northwest Territories and renewing the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum is a key step in meeting that priority,” said R.J. Simpson, NWT Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.
“The Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum must be a curriculum that is grounded in Indigenous world views, reflects the identities of northern children and supports them in becoming capable people.”