'Government is being told loudly and clearly': ATA calls for halt to K-6 draft curriculum

The Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) is asking the province to stop work on the K-6 draft curriculum until a rewrite and review can take place.

The ATA held a news conference on Thursday to outline its plan to halt the pilot and implementation of the draft curriculum.

The group is launching full-page ads in newspapers across the province starting Friday to call for a moratorium and to offer support to those school divisions that have decided not to participate in the pilot.

As of Thursday, 24 boards have said they won't be involved.

“Alberta’s students and teachers require an appropriate and workable curriculum. The government is being told loudly and clearly that this curriculum is unacceptable. We now need the government to announce a stop to their implementation plans and to spell out a new way forward,” said Jason Schilling, ATA president, in a release.

Schilling is also telling school administrators not to direct teachers to participate in the pilot.

“Teachers who believe this curriculum is unsound and potentially damaging to student learning have the professional responsibility and moral right to refuse to participate in voluntary piloting. The government and school boards must respect the decision of individual teachers to not participate in piloting.”

The ATA says teachers are prepared to draw on their extensive experience and expertise to help with the curriculum development process.

“We are committed to supporting the development of a high-quality curriculum, and the ATA is prepared to work constructively in partnership with the Government of Alberta toward that end. It is the only workable path forward. We just need to be invited,” said Schilling.

The K-6 draft curriculum has faced criticism from parents, teachers and Indigenous groups since it was released and several school divisions have voiced concerns over its redesign and the impacts of the pandemic on the learning needs of students.

Support Our Students Alberta is one of the groups asking for another, "non-political" rewrite. 

"We agree with the ATA and all the boards," executive director Medeana Moussa told CTV News.  "One carrot that the government is trying to dangle in front of boards is that if they pilot this curriculum, they will have a better seat at the table to provide feedback. This is actually quite amateurish of the government."

The ATA said in its curriculum declaration that Alberta's teachers "do not have confidence in the content and design" and that the curriculum "fails to meet the criteria set out in the government's own framework."

The review the ATA is calling for involves input from teachers and faculty members and would be inclusive of francophone, First Nations, Métis and Inuit viewpoints.

The ATA says the curriculum needs to be rewritten before piloting can continue.

Parents and the public can pledge their support and learn more about the moratorium HERE.

For more information on the draft K-6 curriculum, visit the Alberta.ca website