Disappointing K-4 Draft Curriculum
Jun 18, 2018 — Dear friends,
Thank you for bearing with me on this as we've been holding out to see what the revised curriculum would look like.
Recently, the Alberta School Councils' Association (ASCA) sent out emails to those on their school council list inviting parents to one of 20 "face-to-face meetings" (May 31st- June 18th) across Alberta for parents to give feedback on the K-4 Draft Curriculum on all the core subjects (math, social studies, science, language arts, French, health).
I attended one of these sessions in Edmonton (because I happened to be on their emailing list), and one of the first things the Alberta Ed people instructed the attendees was that we were sworn to secrecy --that we were not allowed to take pictures or post any opinions of the draft curriculum on social media. There is, of course, something very wrong with that directive considering that the pubic and their children are the primary stakeholders. However, I did refrain from commenting, until now, as I did not want them to come back and say that I had skewed their results somehow.
From what I saw, these sessions are, unfortunately, not meant for meaningful dialogue or feedback. With respect to the math curriculum, how many parents emailed from the council list will have the mathematical and scientific knowledge/background to critique these documents? With twenty plus pages posted on walls around the gym, even an informed parent cannot adequately assess the documents in the allotted time (1hr) to give constructive feedback, particularly when one also wants to review the Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts curricula -- all part of the major Curriculum Rewrite.
What is frightening is when I spoke to the Alberta Ed people there and asked why, for example, standard algorithms aren't more explicitly written into the draft curriculum, they would echo ad nauseam phrases like "but there's no best method" of adding/subtracting/multiplying, etc, etc akin to those who would deny global warming and claim that naturopathic remedies cure cancer. It is so frustrating when evidence-based practice is not priority.
From what I can gather from the draft, there may be slight improvements (?earlier introduction to fractions as we have been pushing), but there are still significant concerns especially with the vague, "discovery-type" language, with no expectation for mastery. The draft curriculum, even for the social studies, should not take effect as written. They've harmed enough children with the overemphasis on discovery-type "strategies" in the last curriculum, they should not be allowed to make the same mistake again.
We all need an opportunity to sit with the document in full and review it in our own time to give meaningful dialogue. Therefore, if you can, please email the school councils at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.800.661.3470 or 780.454.9867 and ask if they can forward you a full copy of the draft curriculum so that you can critically appraise the curriculum to ensure that it meets the standards of excellence for our children.
Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies
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