April 23rd, 2024

Lethbridge School Division rejects draft curriculum


By Lethbridge Herald on April 13, 2021.

Board chair Christine Light speaks to reporters regarding the Lethbridge School Division's decision not to participate in the province's draft K-6 curriculum pilot process. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski
Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
The Lethbridge School Division is refusing to pilot the UCP government’s widely criticized draft K-6 curriculum, and is asking the province to take it back to the shop for a complete overhaul.
“We are calling on the province to stop this process and take the curriculum back and start again,” confirmed LSD board chair Christine Light in a press conference on Monday. “There are too many flaws in this curriculum to validate in a pilot process and make minor tweaks. It is beyond minor tweaks. It just needs a complete overhaul.”
Light felt the proposed curriculum does not meet the needs of 21st education as it stands and has “glaring holes” on top of proven plagiarism and the use of uncredited sources included within it.
“Unfortunately the draft curriculum does not support quality learning that will develop innovative thinkers or responsible citizens with inclusive mindsets,” Light said.
Light stated one of those “glaring holes” was a lack of any quality education on Indigenous peoples in Canada for students in Kindergarten to Grade 2.
“When the government says all members of society are going to be reflected in the curriculum,” she said, “our students should not have to wait until the third or the fourth grade to be reflected in that curriculum.”
Another significant problem with the curriculum, according to Light, is a lack of interconnectedness between all areas of the curriculum and a diminished emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving in favour of rote memorization of random facts.
“A lot of this curriculum is based on memorization, and not much inquiry,” she said. “And not learning through problem-solving.”
Light said the previous curriculum was under development by the former Progressive Conservative and NDP governments for over nine years, and had rigorous engagement with teachers and other educational partners. The NDP proposed minor tweaks which the UCP found objectionable, and then, instead of excising the parts they did not like, they chose instead, for political reasons speculated Light, to throw the baby out with the bathwater– disregarding nine years of intensive work.
“Unfortunately when the UCP government came in they began calling it an NDP curriculum, and they pulled back and started from scratch,” said Light. “The timeline of that work is approximately one year. So when we look at the former curriculum having taken almost nine years, and this one taking one, again, I question the integrity of the work within this curriculum.”
Light stated, contrary to what Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange said this past Saturday about schools participating in the pilot project being “leaders” who will be able to provide “rich feedback” to the province, leadership in education means being able to stand up to tell the province this new curriculum is inadequate to meet the present and future needs of Alberta students.
“This new curriculum they are asking us to pilot does not align with the values, the mission and the vision of our division,” Light stated. “And the mark is so far off that we are not allowing this pilot to enter into our front door. That fact alone should send a profound and rich message to the province.
“Again, we ask the minister to hear the voices of students, hear the voices of trustees, hear the voices of parents, and hear the voices of educators. Stop the pilot process, take this curriculum back, and create a rich curriculum that will benefit our students and our province going into the future.”
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