Stand up and fight

Dear Editor,

Why should parents and grandparents stand up and fight the draft curriculum? Because there is no one else left. 

The teachers, academics and School Boards have been protesting for a year and nothing substantial has changed. 

Show up at the protests in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge or Red Deer on April 2. Or alert local media to your own local protest April 1 or 2, even if it’s just chalking messages on the sidewalk at the MLA’s office or on the public sidewalk at school. For more information go to https://ditchthedraft.ca/

Three subjects are being implemented in K-6 in September 2022: Math, English Language Arts and Literature (ELAL) and Phys Ed/Wellness. 

Phys Ed/Wellness:

Next year when parents ask, “What did you do in gym today?” students may answer “Financial Literacy.” Desk work. For 12-year-olds: mutual funds and bad debt.  

Or perhaps the child will reply, “Wellness. We learned about Consent.” Where young children facing a potential abuser learn they  just need to communicate refusal clearly. 

Or maybe the child will say, “Today we had to study stuff for the test.” Because there is a “knowledge” column for Phys Ed of stuff that has to be “learned,” and an alarming amount of the outcomes in the “skills and procedures” column also use verbs that involve no movement at all. 

The draft Phys Ed/Wellness curriculum is a sad piece of work that needs a do-over.

Math: 

Instead of developing a deep understanding of number relationships and using analysis in problem-solving, students will apply a “standard algorithm” to everything.  

“Standard algorithm” is mentioned 26 times but no examples of a “standard algorithm” are given. 

Additionally, careless errors with sequencing mean certain failure for children. In Grade 3, students must “Convert commonly used units of measure between metric and Canadian (imperial) units within 100.” This will involve multiplying decimals but children won’t learn decimals until Grade 4 and won’t learn multiplying them until Grade 6. 

Grade 2s work with numbers to 1000 and add and subtract two-digit numbers, but place value isn’t taught until Grade 3.  

The draft Math also needs a do-over.

ELAL: The teaching of phonics will be done through a lockstep program that was developed in haste for the piloting year and then was only tested for six months instead of the full year. 

Now it will be prescribed material for the next 10 – 30 years. 

There is also a focus on teaching sight words in isolation, from prescribed lists, but the lists are not even published in the curriculum! In both cases the instruction is divorced from reading words in context and understanding what is read, which should be the main goals of reading instruction. 

After three years of rigid programming in phonics and common sight words, in Grades 4 – 6 prescribed reading includes Shakespeare, Aristotle, Cicero and dramatic works from ancient Greece or Rome. 

Do-over!

Parents, grandparents, members of the public, make yourselves seen and heard on April 2. Protest the Draft Curriculum. Our children deserve better than this.

 

Karen Green

Sherwood Park, Alta.

Karen Green B.A. ’77, Dip. Ed. ’78 McGill University

Karen Green is a grandmother and retired teacher who taught Grades K-2 in Alberta for 33 years.

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