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Editorial: Curriculum catastrophe

At this point, it's almost easier to list the Alberta school districts that haven't rejected the option of piloting the provincial government's draft Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum next fall.

At this point, it's almost easier to list the Alberta school districts that haven't rejected the option of piloting the provincial government's draft Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum next fall.  

Rocky View Schools (RVS) was the 15th school district to make the announcement it would not be co-opting the new elementary curriculum in September. RVS follows in the footsteps of the Calgary Board of Education and the public and Catholic school districts of Edmonton. Now, four of the five largest school districts in the province have stated they will not pilot the curriculum, in addition to about a dozen others. 

RVS officials cited the COVID-19 pandemic's ongoing burden on students and teachers as the main reason the division does not want to take part in the curriculum's pilot rollout.

But there's more to it than that. The Province's draft K-6 curriculum has been criticized since it was unveiled in late March, by both school district officials and the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA). The ATA's president claimed 91 per cent of members opposed the draft curriculum, and that teachers weren't involved in the development of the curriculum.

Then, there are allegations of plagiarism. A Werklund School of Education professor at the University of Calgary found multiple cases of the draft curriculum copy-and-pasting excerpts from other sources without any attribution or credit. Sources that were allegedly plagiarized in the curriculum included an academic article from 1976 and a Wikipedia article about Alberta's demographics, while the Grade 2 physical education curriculum appears to match almost word-for-word information from the website of a Vancouver-based recreation centre.

The curriculum may also have elements of nepotism – musicians and teachers claimed a song by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's grandfather was included in the curriculum, according to a Canadian Press story. 

Provincial governments' involvement in curriculum development will almost always garner criticism by those who have opposing political views. But no matter how you identify politically, the Alberta government's K-6 curriculum rollout has been a catastrophe.