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Catholic schools board chair reserving judgement over new curriculum

The chair of the Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools Board is reserving some judgment when it comes to the newly unveiled K-6 Alberta curriculum.

The updated curriculum aims to teach students the basics of literacy, numeracy, citizenship, and practical skills. Michael Ouellette says the document hasn’t been touched for so many years, and while some are for it and some are against it, he says it’s what they’ve been given.

“There’s going to be some time where they’re going to have to buy into what the government says will be the new curriculum,” he says.

Ouellette adds, however, the government could have done a better job with the advisory panel that was tasked with coming up with the upgraded learning blueprint.

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“The government controls the curriculum, they put a group together, that wasn’t probably the best group I’ve ever seen to work on it, and it’s going to be some interesting times going forward,” he adds.

The new curriculum was called “jaw-droppingly, wildly misguided” by the Grande Prairie Catholic Local 42 teachers union. In a social media post Monday, officials questioned why subjects like the understanding of the rise and fall of the Mongol Empire was imperative to teach to second graders.

Subjects, such as treaties and residential schools will not be introduced until grades 4 and 5 respectively. A move that goes against the recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that suggests all grades, even Kindergarten, learn about those topics in some capacity.

When asked for a reason, Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange did not explain, saying only that the curriculum is rich in Indigenous content.

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