Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools will not be piloting the draft K-6 curriculum in 2021. The decision came after a unanimous no vote by members of the school board on Monday.
Board Chair Michael Ouellette says board members received a 600 plus page report from the school division as part of its decision-making process. He adds the feedback they received from parents was also a big part of the final outcome.
“We’ve never seen so many letters written in from parents, with so many different concerns… and it’s not just “I don’t like it,”, it’s stronger than that.” These parents are very upset over this, and we have to listen,” he adds.
Ouellette says he had personal concerns about the age appropriateness of the teaching, as well as the lack of teaching of Indigenous culture for younger grades. He says the backlash the province is getting from boards across Alberta is telling, suggesting it’s more than just ideological disagreements.
“I think there are 40 boards, so 70 per cent of the boards saying they do not want to pilot this curriculum, and I think the government has to listen to the people,”
He adds there wasn’t enough consultation across the board when it comes to the draft curriculum, especially when it comes to those who are responsible for putting the curriculum into practical use; teachers.
“That’s the key here, consult with them, you may not agree with everything they say, but at least you’ve consulted with them, not after the fact.”
Oulette says he remains wary that the draft document may remain in place, as is, come September 2022. He believes that would be a miscalculation on the part of the provincial government.
“I’m very concerned that this government will try to push this through anyway, and I think that would be a massive mistake for the children, and for the children’s future,” he says.
Neither the Grande Prairie Public School Division nor Peace Wapiti Public School Division has declared their intentions when it comes to running the curriculum pilot.