Alberta announces 3 phases for curriculum rollout as criticism continues

Alberta expects to implement its entire new K-6 curriculum in time for September 2024, but advocates for teachers and students still say the rollout is rushed with the first phase scheduled for this fall.

Last month, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced the province would first apply the new English and math curricula for K-3 students and phys-ed for all of K-6, but delayed everything else.

The Alberta government announced the timeline for its new K-6 curriculum on Wednesday. (CTV News Edmonton)

“These three subjects in Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum are critical starting points that will set students on the best path for success,” LaGrange said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the province announced the rest of the timeline:

  • English Language Arts and Literature: Grades 4 to 6 in September 2023
  • Math: Grades 4 to 6 in September 2023
  • Science: K-3 in September 2023; grades 4 to 6 in September 2024
  • Social studies: K-6 in September 2024
  • Fine arts: K-3 in September 2023; grades 4 to 6 in September 2024
  • French: K-3 in September 2023; grades 4 to 6 in September 2024

The timeline is based on recommendations from the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group, a group created to help guide the rollout.

According to the province, changes made to the draft curriculum addressed content load, age appropriateness, wording clarity and First Nations, Metis and Inuit content.

In 2022-23, the province is also investing $59 million in teacher professional learning and teaching resources to make sure educators and students are prepared for the updated curriculum.

‘TEACHERS ARE WORRIED’

The curriculum rollout has been heavily criticized over the past year.

In late 2021, the province decided to delay the implementation of the social studies, fine arts and science curricula after heavy criticism related to the drafts released earlier that year.

Rallies were held in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat earlier this month, where protesters called for the government to pause the introduction of the new curricula this fall.

“Parents, teachers, trustees, academics, racialized Albertans, francophones and Indigenous leaders have repeatedly called on this government to scrap their widely discredited K-6 curriculum rewrite,” NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman said.

“We just don’t think these subjects have been substantially revised or improved enough to meet the criteria that experts are saying really needs to meet the threshold,” agreed Wing Kar Li, communications director for Support our Students.

Last month, the ATA released a survey that showed five per cent of teachers agree the new K-6 curriculum will be positive for students, and three per cent reported they have the resources to support its implementation.

ATA president Jason Schilling said teachers don’t have enough time to “meaningfully” prepare to implement it.

“Teachers don’t trust this minister to take their concerns seriously over the curriculum implementation strategy,” ATA president Jason Schilling said.

“Teachers know what will and what will not work in their classrooms, and to be disregarded around this process, the content, the implementation plan, the resources, the assessment of this curriculum throughout the process, has been a disrespectful move by Alberta’s government in moving forward with this curriculum.” 

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