Petition update

Minister Eggen Promises to Meet. Kenney to Repeal 2013 Ministerial Order?

Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies
Calmar, Canada

Feb 19, 2018 — Dear friends & fellow petitioners,

I ran into Minister Eggen at a function on Feb 3rd and he PROMISED to meet. However, his trusted assistant has yet to respond to my follow-up email. You would think Minister Eggen who claims to believe in social justice would be open to listening to a mother who is a physician and an immigrant with first-hand knowledge of the value of education in creating a society free of hatred, ignorance, inequity and injustice and the value of education in our appreciation of science and the arts. You would think....

Through three education ministers -- Jeff Johnson, Gordon Dirks and now David Eggen -- we have stood up for our children's right to a good education, and a few positive changes had come out of our advocacy:
2014 re-emphasis on basics, removal of words disparaging memorization, multiple strategies not expected
2015 reemphasis on the standard/traditional algorithms
2016 Provincial Testing to assess skills with no calculators

The reason we're still here is because:
1) While I have seen increased emphasis on the times table and algorithms in my own children's classrooms, many parents are still reporting an overemphasis on discovery-type approaches in their children's classroom. What system of accountability is in place to ensure quality education for our children?
2) Our system is still in the midst of a curriculum rewrite for all subjects, including math. The danger is that the rewrite revolves around the 2013 Ministerial Order that was derived from the un-Inspiring Education document that wanted to push our education system toward a more inquiry/discovery based approach. Knowing how discovery math negatively impacted our children's math abilities, how can we stand by and let an over-emphasis on discovery-type learning impact the knowledge and skills of our children in all subjects? Our children are not their guinea pigs.
3) Would the changes we achieved be retained in the rewrite or would the inquiry/discovery-proponents planted in the rewrite committee reverse what we had accomplished?
4) The current ATA admin keeps reiterating to the ministry that the curriculum is "too prescriptive". It is just silly. All professions from lawyers and doctors practice according to standards dictated by their profession. If teaching is a respectable profession (which it is), it should be based on a solid curriculum with high evidence-based standards of excellence. The teaching "prescription" just should not ascribe to excessive inquiry/discovery-based ideologies.

I cannot be at peace until I know that the Minister of Education of whichever governing party is committed to repealing the 2013 Ministerial Order. UCP leader Jason Kenney PROMISED me, in a meeting with him last year, that he will repeal the order as soon as he is in gov't. Would he be true to his word? Those who dishonour their word have no right to be in government.

Social justice can only exist if we equip our children with a strong base of knowledge and skills, not ideologies.

Kindest regards,
Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies

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