#abed news: The Alberta government is disbanding a group of 358 teachers, academics, Indigenous and francophone experts who were reviewing the new K-12 curriculum and rapidly assembling new groups of teachers to do the work: cbc.ca/news/canada/ed… #ableg
This comes in the wake of some of the government's hand-picked curriculum advisers making controversial suggestions that experts say would put Alberta decades behind other jurisdictions #ableg #abed cbc.ca/news/canada/ed…
The former curriculum working groups were originally appointed by the former NDP government in 2016. At one point, there were more than 400 people in the groups. They had expenses reimbursed but were otherwise volunteering their time to look at specific subjects. #ableg #abed
After Jason Kenney returned to Alberta and the curriculum revamp became a political football, the former NDP government refused to release the names of the 400+ group members, as some feared personal attacks and harassment for their involvement. #ableg #abed
The then-UCP Opposition and some columnists then claimed the refusal to release names meant the NDP was writing the curriculum in secret. #ableg #abed
(I looked into this a couple years ago - other provinces don't release writers' names, either edmontonjournal.com/news/local-new…) #abed
I've been prodding the UCP gov't about the role of the curriculum working groups, as some members had heard crickets since that government was elected and paused the curriculum development process. As recently as June, the groups were still in tact and had 358 members. List:
Last week, Alberta school boards, First Nation education departments and private schools got an email giving superintendents and directors about seven days to choose new nominees to new curriculum groups. Some emails clarified the old groups were now "former" groups. #abed
Today is the deadline for school authorities to nominate teachers to the new groups. Government is looking for about 300 teachers, who will be grouped into elementary, junior high and high school grade groups. #ableg #abed
The emails also say the K-6 group is expected to meet in Edmonton, in person, on Nov. 25 and 26 to review the curriculum drafts. Public health measures in place, etc. Government is now rethinking the in-person idea, given COVID numbers. #ableg
The emails say the junior high groups would meet in the new year, and high school group... later. The teachers are expected to sign on for a year and sign confidentiality clauses to keep the curriculum drafts confidential. #ableg #abed
The current timeline is for the K-6 drafts to be made public for feedback in early 2021 and start classroom testing in select places during fall 2021. Full implementation of K-6 timeline is fall 2022. I should make a timeline, ya? #ableg
Critics of the process have several concerns about these developments. First, the 25 academics who were on the curriculum groups have now been cut out. There were also 10 reps from the Northwest Territories and three from Nunavut, because they use AB curriculum. #abed
But the government says it will do separate consultation, specifically with Alberta deans of education, on curriculum. Timeline TBA. And NT and NU have been invited to participate in the new groups. The NT government said they hadn't heard anything from AB since 2019. #ableg
The Opposition, the teachers' association and at least one prof I spoke with are also suspicious about the timeline for teachers to review the drafts. @UCalgaryEduc Prof @dmscott73 said he's never seen a government move so fast on an initiative like this. #ableg #abed
They all said this raises questions about the quality of feedback the government wants, hurrying to appoint and assemble teachers during a pandemic when subs are scarce and many Ts are in isolation (or sick). #ableg #abed
I should also note, schools can re-nominate teachers who were previously on the working groups to serve on them again. Government also looking for diversity, geographically, and inclusion of francophones and Indigenous folks. #ableg #abed

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More from @Jantafrench

24 Oct
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is addressing the UCP AGM now. #ableg He says he's here to give a message of hope at a difficult time.
So far he's touched on the story of David Thompson, the first European to see the Rocky Mountains, the role of "personal responsibility" in Alberta's management of the pandemic, the Northern Lights awards for community contributions and the Alberta economic recovery plan #ableg
Sub-message to Joe Biden here, saying any American administration will have to answer to the thousands of people employed in the Keystone XL pipeline project. cbc.ca/news/canada/ca… Alberta invested $1.5B in it #ableg
Read 55 tweets
24 Oct
Federal conservative leader and Opposition leader Erin O'Toole will now address the UCP AGM. #ableg #cdnpoli
He's standing outside in Ottawa and the sun is shining and there is no snow and there are still leaves on trees. Grrr.
"Just another reason to hate Ottawa," O'Toole quips. #ableg
O'Toole said one of his first jobs was as a pipeline inspector with TransCanada. Alberta needs to be back in the driver's seat as we recover from the pandemic and economic downturn, he said. #ableg
Read 26 tweets
24 Oct
Happy Saturday. I'll be following the second weekend of the United Conservative Party's AGM today. On the agenda, addresses from Leslyn Lewis, Erin O'Toole, and Premier Jason Kenney. #ableg
There will also be a panel with Rona Ambrose, Adriana LaGrange, Rebecca Schulz and Tracy Allard on women leading during a crisis. #ableg
The day wraps up with a virtual bear pit session with Jason Kenney. There are also breakout sessions. #ableg
Read 24 tweets
23 Oct
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says some controversial curriculum proposals 'aren't even realistic'
cbc.ca/news/canada/ed… #ableg #abed
Premier Jason Kenney also yesterday defended social studies consultant Chris Champion. He repeated the education ministers assurances residential schools will be taught in elementary school. #ableg #abed
Premier Kenney repeated his previous claims there was no Canadian history, law or parliamentary democracy in the NDP’s curriculum “framework.” This is incorrect. #ableg #abed
Read 5 tweets
22 Oct
NDP leader Rachel Notley asks during QP when the government will fire curriculum adviser Chris Champion. Ed Minister Adriana LaGrange doesn't answer directly, saying the curriculum was being written "in secret" under the past NDP government. #ableg #abed
Minister also says the NDP has members who support the Extinction Rebellion involved with curriculum. They wanted curriculum to create "effective agents of change."
Notley says, some people call those folks "innovators." #ableg #abed
Minister says -- this is the first time I've heard her say this -- that some of the curriculum recommendations aren't even realistic, "especially at the age suggested."
I'll follow up on this. #ableg #abed
Read 4 tweets
22 Oct
An update on the controversial Alberta school curriculum recommendations: Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says teaching about residential schools in elementary school is non-negotiable: #ableg #abed cbc.ca/news/canada/ed…
I did press her on what grade those lessons should start in -- she did not answer. Advisers hired by government say K-4 is too young to learn about residential schools or harms of colonization to Indigenous peoples. TRC calls to action say needs to be taught K-12. #ableg #abed
We also asked the minister if she would be taking the advice of these consultants and she just said, "advice is advice." Opposition NDP members pointed out governments usually hire advisers whose counsel they plan to follow. #ableg #abed
Read 6 tweets

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