Rocky View Schools latest board to pass on testing Alberta’s controversial draft curriculum

Rocky View Schools is the latest school board to announce it will not be piloting Alberta’s new draft curriculum.

The pandemic is expected to continue to create a burden on both students and teachers going into the next school year, the board said in a release Tuesday, so it hopes to avoid putting additional pressure on an already difficult situation.

“While we appreciate that the government has provided flexibility in piloting, we have heard from our administration and many parents and staff requesting that the pilot does not occur in RVS classrooms for a number of reasons,” said board chair Fiona Gilbert.

“Piloting a new curriculum will only put more pressure on teachers, schools and the system while we work through recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.”

Gilbert said there were also concerns about some of the approaches and topics outlined in the curriculum, and that the board was not comfortable putting it before students at this time. 

Rocky View Schools is the fifth largest school board in the province, and serves more than 26,000 students at 51 schools in areas surrounding Calgary. 

The board’s superintendent said Rocky View Schools will focus on bringing teachers and principals together to provide feedback on the curriculum, and identify needed changes. 

Rocky View Schools is the latest of several school boards across the province to reject the K-6 curriculum pilot project, including the Calgary Board of Education, Edmonton Public Schools, Edmonton Catholic, as well as the Métis Nation of Alberta and Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. 

The new curriculum has been criticized by both educators and parents for its approach toward religion, Indigenous history and colonialism, among other topics. 

A plagiarism expert also found multiple instances of passages that closely resembled other sources. 

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange told CBC News last month that school district participation in the pilot project was voluntary but that she hoped to have representation from urban and rural schools.

The province has said the new curriculum will be mandatory for all Alberta elementary schools to teach by September 2022.

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