Petition update

Curriculum Survey & Best Practice

Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies
Calmar, Canada

May 30, 2017 — Dear friends,

I hope this message finds you well. It has been a frustrating few months trying to jump through all the hoops demanded of us just to be heard in this public "consultation" gimmick for the Curriculum Rewrite.

Since Minister Eggen won't answer my mail, I've written a message that I hope will reach him and the ministry,

I can't help but feel that this government has made a mockery of our education system by staging a game, ie "curriculum survey" wherein any number of critical learning outcomes can be voted off if the mood is right. Take for example the threat of abolishing Shakespeare:

In January, we applied for an opportunity to present to the so-called "Expert Working Groups". Dr. John Bowman, a university math prof, kindly prepared a presentation. We were given only 15mins to make our case, to convince this expert working group (of 50+ people) to make critical changes to further improve the math curriculum. Unfortunately, there were multiple computer glitches and Dr. Bowman ended up being able to speak for less than five minutes before being pulled from the stage to make way for the next group of presenters. I watched with dismay the faces of this "expert working group" because I saw only indifference. They showed little appreciation for the fact that this highly respected university professor had taken time of out of his busy schedule to share with them valuable knowledge from the field.

Mr. Stuart Wachowicz, an expert on curriculum, meanwhile had 15 mins to present our concerns regarding the shift to a more discovery/inquiry learning system, as dictated by the 2013 Ministerial Order. Honestly, how can anyone in the allotted 15mins go into any depth regarding the scope of this problem? Therefore, how genuine is their desire to get this curriculum rewrite right?

In early April, I finally met with Jason Kenney. He seemed interested in our concerns and after some discussion, he stated that, once in office, he would repeal that Ministerial Order. Being how unresponsive the Wildrose members have been to our concerns of late, I can't help but be skeptical of yet another politician's promise. It was the PCs that got our curriculum into this mess in the first place, while the NDP Minister has shown little courage to break free from the PC's curse, the 2013 Ministerial Order. Now that the WR and PC are United, it's hard to say whether they will even care about the quality of our children's education.

And just last week, I, Cornelia, Dr. John Bowman, and Marion, signed up to attend a "Face-to-Face" session in Edmonton to review the Scope & Sequence of the proposed curriculum. We and everyone else in the room were not impressed to discover that this "face-to-face" was not actually a face to face with the actual people behind the curriculum rewrite, but rather a face to face with other people in attendance. The session was merely an infomercial on the new Online Curriculum Survey, deadline June 2nd.

To think that we had these two incredible post-secondary math professors in attendance to review the scope & sequence of the proposed math curriculum, but alas! the weight of their knowledge and expertise are restricted to a couple of square boxes on this generic online survey. It is absolutely absurd that their important voices will be diluted down by a survey.

To add weight to their expert opinions, you can possiblygo to Part B of the survey and share Cornelia's thoughts that "the learning curve from k-9 to HS changes slope too rapidly and that would be a shock to many students who then fail math 10c in droves. In high school, sudden new ideas and concepts are introduced and then cascade on them at a super pace compared to k-9 where they do linear patterns/equations/functions for 5 years in a row. Plead for fractions to be done at least one year earlier (than written on the current scope &sequence) and nonlinear functions to be also introduced earlier to remedy this issue." And here are Dr. Robert Craigen's thoughts that you can also write into Part B "I agree that pushing fraction arithmetic to Grade 6 would be an improvement. The proper place to begin this is Grade 4 (where it was prior to 1995). Some strong school systems introduce addition and subtraction of fractions in Grade 3."

It is really difficult to know whether anything we say or do will make any difference. This is a precarious time in our children's education.

Until next time, I wish you well.

Kindest regards,
Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies

p.s Dr. Craigen & Dr. Stokke in Manitoba-

Tara in BC -

Teresa in ON - in

Lisa in Calg -

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