The social studies curriculum has been the most controversial of the proposed curriculum changes in Alberta.
In March 2021, the government proposed changing all subjects at once. Local school divisions would not pilot the curriculum and many people raised concerns. By March 2022, a phased approach was chosen.
On September 18, 2023, the government announced four more stages of engagement and it had met with education partners over the summer to discuss social studies.
Until October 16, people can give initial feed back by reading a discussion guide and doing a survey on https://www.alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say. To find these, scroll down to ‘Get involved’, and the survey is under ‘Preliminary engagement.’
The next step is targeted engagement.
The news release says this fall Alberta Education will meet with “education partners, teachers, multicultural organizations, Indigenous and francophone communities, and other education specialists to inform the scope and sequence of the K-12 social studies curriculum and the content of the draft K-6 social studies curriculum. Curriculum scope and sequence is a planning tool for curriculum developers that outlines the focus for student learning from kindergarten to Grade 12 and informs the development of curriculum content.”
Early in 2024, the public engagement will begin. The final stage is classroom pilots in the 2024-25 school year.
“Collaborating with education partners and Albertans at different stages of the engagement process will ensure their knowledge and perspectives are considered at the right time,” says the news release says. “This targeted approach will allow the government to hear from a diverse range of stakeholders and leverage their expertise for curriculum development and implementation.”
In the news release, Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, says, “Teachers must play a key role in curriculum development in order for implementation to succeed. Comprehensive, thoughtful and authentic engagement with teachers, education partners and the public is critical to the process. This new plan puts social studies curriculum development back on track and headed in a better direction. It provides a model for moving forward in other subject areas and on other issues facing education.”
“Alberta’s students deserve a rich and diverse curriculum that supports them as they become contributing global citizens,” says Brandi Rai, president of the Alberta School Councils’ Association in the news release. “ASCA’s member school councils welcome this meaningful collaboration to redraft the K-6 social studies curriculum through broad consultation and thorough review. Understanding the complexities of classrooms, the timeline for consultation, review and validation is very much appreciated.”
Social studies is an interdisciplinary subject area that includes content about history, geography, economics, government and civics. Social studies education can build active, informed and responsible citizens who contribute to their communities and are knowledgeable about rights, responsibilities and decision-making.