Edmonton-area school boards say they won't pilot Alberta's draft K-6 curriculum

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Some Edmonton-area school boards say their classrooms won’t take part in piloting Alberta’s new draft K-6 curriculum in the fall, while others are not committing to it.

Edmonton Public School Board chairwoman Trisha Estabrooks said at a virtual news conference Friday the division was opting out, citing the interruptions to learning that COVID-19 has already wrought and “serious” concerns about the content of the curriculum, which was released Monday.

“It’s one of those moments where we have to speak up and share what our constituents are sharing with us,” said Estabrooks.

Those concerns about the curriculum include its lack of age-inappropriate material, the fact that the document does not uphold the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and an “us versus them mentality” embedded in the social studies curriculum, she said.

The division, the second-largest in the province, will continue to provide feedback on the draft curriculum and Estabrooks called on the government to publicly share the comments it receives. She said she believes Education Minister Adriana LaGrange will listen to and incorporate public responses.

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Elk Island Public Schools Superintendent Mark Liguori said the division also will not teach the draft curriculum in its schools in the 2021-22 school year.

In a Friday statement, Ligouri said it will review the document with teachers to give feedback to the province, and come up with its own plan to prepare teachers for mandatory implementation in classrooms, which is scheduled for 2022.

“We’ll wait to see the outcome of the classroom validation process and any updates made as a result of the feedback from Albertans collected in the coming months before the revised curriculum is fully implemented,” Liguori said.

Other school divisions say they’re uncertain about whether or not they’ll sign up.

Corine Gannon, superintendent of learning Services at Edmonton Catholic Schools, said in a statement the division will not be committing to piloting the new curriculum.

“We will spend the next several weeks reviewing and unpacking the new curriculum. We will be engaging our own stakeholders, including teachers, administration, Council of Elders, and other community members before providing feedback to the Government of Alberta,” she said.

St. Albert Public Schools spokeswoman Paula Power also confirmed the division needs time to review the draft document before considering whether it will sign on to the pilot.

More to come…

lijohnson@postmedia.com

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