By Letter to the Editor on July 28, 2021.
How about Jason Kenney’s idea to disenfranchise some taxpayers and just let the constituents who are currently policed by the RCMP vote on whether to keep the RCMP? By that logic, only parents would have a say on whether to proceed with the 2021 Draft Curriculum.
Instead, Minister LaGrange is trying to silence and disenfranchise the parents.
Education Minister LaGrange has announced that she is accepting applications for a new Parent Advisory Council.
The definition, from the government’s web page, is: “The Minister’s Parent Advisory Council is the voice of parents in Alberta.” The voice of parents in Alberta? Alarm bells are ringing in all the other groups who thought they were the voice of at least some of the parents in Alberta.
The Alberta School Councils Association (ASCA) has democratically elected leadership representing over 1300 school councils in Alberta.
Their policy positions have been communicated to the Minister, but there has been no response.
It appears the Minister is replacing a democratically elected body with one of 40 hand-picked, well-vetted members, whose input will be limited to responding as individuals 3-4 times a year during Zoom meetingsâ€¦and whose input may then quite possibly be ignored.
Certainly ASCA and other groups and individuals are feeling ignored. Parents concerned about the draft curriculum swamped the Minister’s office with so many phone calls and emails that they brought in staff from other departments.
The Minister has had a massive amount of feedback already. She just hasn’t listened to it.
So far the government has used the valid criticisms of the curriculum to formulate rebuttals instead of committing to the needed changes.
The government is still insisting that the draft curriculum, as is, is age appropriate. At a recent “Have Your Say” information session, parents were told that age-appropriateness was, in fact, “top of mind” during curriculum development.
Let’s look at the Social Studies curriculum for Grade Two (think seven-year-olds, and about 120 instructional minutes per week for SS): belief systems associated with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A timeline for the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Distinguish between Roman and Greek contributions to modern life. Explain the significance of Charlemagne’s rule in the medieval era. Explain the changes in the law in medieval England. The difference in the systems of government between the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic, and Imperial Rome. Ask questions: Was theÂ Magna CartaÂ the beginning of English democracy through Parliament?
This is just a fraction of what appears in the skills section for SS in Grade 2, and it all sounds like essay questions for university courses.
The Minister insists this curriculum is age-appropriate. It is not. It is dangerously inappropriate and will lead to stress and failure.
Minister LaGrange, you don’t need another Parent Advisory Council. You need to listen to the parents who have already spoken, including the democratically elected leadership of ASCA. “Protect quality education” as you promised to do in your published election platform. Promise made, promise brokenâ€¦