'Conditions have not been met': Edmonton Catholic School Board opts out of curriculum pilot

Desks in Edmonton Catholic Schools have been distanced as far as possible for the return to classes on Sept. 2, 2020.

Edmonton Catholic Schools is the latest Alberta school division to decide not to pilot the draft K-6 curriculum during the 2021-22 school year.

The draft has been marred in controversy, with concerns about its content, academic language and timing during the pandemic.

“We believe the conditions have not been met for a quality piloting process,” said ECSD Chief Superintendent Robert Martin. “This decision is based on the voices of more than 1,000 teachers.”

“Across the different curriculum areas there are questions about the age appropriate, there are lots of instances where information is brought from what is currently older grades down to younger grades and our teachers had lots of questions whether that content was appropriate,” said Nicole Lafreniere, Director of Curriculum and Professional Learning.

The vote was unanimous.

A 173-page review of the draft curriculum done by the board will be passed along to Alberta Education.

“This body would like to engage with the ministry in making a curriculum that our beautiful Alberta children deserve, the best possible curriculum,” said trustee Debbie Engel.

The draft has been especially poorly received among teachers in the province, with a survey by the Alberta Teachers’ Association released in early April revealing 91 per cent of teachers are unhappy with the draft.

Last week, the Edmonton Public School Board called for a complete curriculum rewrite, with EPSB Chair Trisha Estabrooks pointing to a large amount of school boards across Alberta already refusing to pilot the draft curriculum.