Battle River School Division (BRSD) has added their voice to other school boards in the province that have stated they will not pilot the new draft curriculum in the fall.
BRSD issued a press release on April 12, announcing the decision.
“After careful consideration, Battle River School Division has made the decision to not be involved in piloting any new curriculum during the 2021-2022 school year,” stated the release, adding comments and concerns received from parents were taken into account.
“The school division will continue its enhanced focus on building student literacy and numeracy skills next year. In addition, BRSD will continue to have a strong focus on meeting students’ diverse learning and wellness needs.
“The school division would like to acknowledge that teachers are experiencing a very challenging and exhausting year due to the pandemic. There is great reluctance to add to their load by asking them to pilot new material.”
The release went on to say that any teachers who want to review the new curriculum and provide feedback to Alberta Education will be supported in doing so.
Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely responded by saying she was disapointed in the school board’s decision.
“I am profoundly disappointed with Battle River School Division’s flip flop decision on piloting part of the new curriculum,” said Lovely in an email April 13.
”By far, education was one of the most contentious items people in our constituency brought forward to me at the door during the campaign.”
Lovely stated that when Albertans voted for the UCP in 2019, they voted for a party that would “get politics out of school curriculums.”
She defended the social studies curriculum, saying it would teach students to think critically about historical and contemporary issues and said it shouldn’t be about “indoctrinating students with the anti-oil politics of radical groups like ‘Extinction Rebellion’ or socialist literature like ‘Mouseland’ as members of the NDP would prefer.”
According to Lovely, under the new K-6 curriculum, Grade 1 students would be taught Blackfoot legends and creation stories from Cree, Dene and Inuit communities, and study the common roots and beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, Sikhism, Islam and other religions in Grade 2.
In learning about Ancient Greece, they will be taught about the emergence of democracy, the Olympics, and how Roman rule influenced law and infrastructure, she says.
In Grades 3 and 4, students would learn would learn about the first European settlers in Canada, and about English, Scottish and Irish immigrants in Grades 5 and 6. More Black history would also be included, starting in Grade 3.
The full curriculum can be found online at alberta.ca/curriculum. Albertans can give feedback on the draft curriculum until spring 2022 by going to the website and clicking on “Have your say.”