Letters to the Editor – from Karen Green

Tell the minister that the government must do better

To the Editor:

“What does it say?” my grandson asks. He’s looking at the chalked message beside the mailbox. I reply, “It says, ‘Protect your children. Refuse the Draft Curriculum.’”

“What does that mean?” grandson asks. I pause. Then I say, “There are people who want to change what you learn in school and make it so that it’s really, really boring. And I’m telling them, ‘No.’”

“Boring” is the most age-appropriate word I could come up with.

Should I have told grandson that I am appalled, disgusted and even frightened by the tasks he will be expected to do in Social Studies in the new curriculum? None of the curricula currently in use in Alberta now, all developed under PC governments, has ever listed very prescriptive tasks disguised as “skills outcomes.” But the UCP 2021 Draft Curriculum does.

There’s a Grade 1 SS outcome that requires grandson be able to “… explain a chart showing impact of natural disasters on populations.” That means “use a chart to compare how many people died.”

There’s a Grade 2 outcome requiring that he “compare the Black Death with later pandemics, including … COVID-19.”
In Grade 2, kids are six or seven years old. Why can’t they just learn about germs, including COVID-19, and how to stay healthy?

In Grade 3, after the students are completely stressed by having had to memorize all the prior history of the (European) world, there is a mention of slavery in New France.

The one required outcome under “skills” is “consider why advertisements would be placed in newspapers offering rewards for the capture of a runaway slave.” Is the answer that the enslaved were property and the owners needed cheap labour or the economy would surely have collapsed?

In Grade 4 (Grade 4!) students will work on business plans and the learning outcome is that they develop a business plan for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Our eight-to-nine-year-olds are required to make their first business plan about how to use cheap immigrant labour to do dangerous work, without costly safety restrictions. “Financial literacy,” UCP style.

In Grade 5 students will finally learn about residential schools and the “survivors.” The quotation marks are placed there no doubt at the behest of chief Social Studies advisor Chris Champion, who once wrote an opinion piece that cast doubt on the suffering of residential school survivors. Recently, in response to the discovery of the remains of 215 indigenous children buried next to a Kamloops school, his Dorchester Review tweeted, “In many cases their parents wanted them there.”

Perhaps Champion is also responsible for the requirement that Grade 6 students memorize the KKK chant while learning about the KKK. Could anything be less appropriate? I mean, other than the outcomes previously listed above.

There are so many shockingly inappropriate things in the Draft “Curriculum”: inappropriate for the child’s age, inappropriate to a coherent sequence of learning, inappropriate in school, period. Tell Adriana LaGrange that the government must do better.

Karen Green
Sherwood Park, AB

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