Education minister appoints panel to review new Alberta curriculum

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Alberta education minister speaks about curriculum review panel
WATCH ABOVE: Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has appointed a panel to look over the work done by the previous NDP government on Alberta's new curriculum, and provide advice on how to move forward on its development. Tom Vernon sits down with the minister to talk more about the review. – Aug 22, 2019

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has appointed a panel to look over the work done by the previous NDP government on Alberta’s new curriculum, and provide advice on how to move forward on its development.

The panel will be chaired by former Edmonton Public School Board Superintendent Angus McBeath, and include members from post secondary institutions and career development organizations.

“I think what we will gain from this group is a broad-based, knowledgeable perspective on what education in Alberta could look like,” LaGrange said in an interview with Global News.

“I believe there was consultation that took place, I just want to expand the level of consultation and really go beyond what has already been done.”

The panel will report back to the government by Dec. 20 with recommendations on how the process to develop the new curriculum should proceed.

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READ MORE: Curriculum review stirs debate among Alberta political parties

The new Kindergarten to Grade 4 curriculum developed during the NDP government was to begin classroom testing in September, but the new UCP government pressed pause on that after the election.

During the campaign, the party accused the NDP of putting political bias into the curriculum, although the minister wouldn’t point out any specific examples.

“The general public lost faith that things were moving forward in a transparent manner, so that created numerous concerns,” she said.

Watch below: The United Conservatives have launched a promised review into the new school curriculum developed by the previous NDP government. Tom Vernon has more.

Click to play video: 'United Conservatives launch review of Alberta curriculum'
United Conservatives launch review of Alberta curriculum

The NDP says the United Conservatives are creating an unnecessary delay to a curriculum that badly needs updating.

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“The curriculum development process was the most robust one in history. I know that. I saw it working day in and day out with Alberta Education,” said NDP MLA Janis Irwin, who worked on the update before being elected in April.

Irwin adds the new government has never been able to name a single problem with the new K-4 curriculum.

Not included on the panel are any current Kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers. LaGrange said she values the work teachers have done to this point, and they will still be involved, but for this panel she is looking for a different set of eyes.

READ MORE: Alberta government cancels partnership with teachers’ association

The government cancelled a memorandum of understanding with the Alberta Teachers’ Association last week, calling it too restrictive.

“This partnership engaged the Alberta Teachers’ Association in assisting government in the curriculum design process and played an important role in mobilizing teachers’ practical expertise and support for the redesign of Alberta’s decades-old curriculum,” ATA president Jason Schilling said after learning the MOU had been cancelled.

LISTEN: Barbara Silva of Support our Students joins Calgary Today to discuss the province’s curriculum announcement

“Teachers live the curriculum; they know what works and what doesn’t work in today’s diverse and complex classrooms,” Schilling said. “Ultimately, if a curriculum does not work for teachers and support student learning, it will fail and, for us, failure is not an option.”

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Here’s a complete list of the panel members:

  • Angus McBeath (chair), former superintendent, Edmonton Public Schools
  • Jen Panteluk (vice-chair), former president and CEO, Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta and Northwest Territories
  • Glenn Feltham, president & CEO, NAIT
  • Martin Mrazik, professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta
  • Keray Henke, former deputy minister, Alberta Education
  • Amy von Heyking, associate professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge
  • Paulette Hanna, associate vice president academic, Red Deer College and former superintendent, Red Deer Catholic School Division
  • Sharon Carry, former president & CEO, Bow Valley College
  • Andy Neigel, CEO, Careers: the Next Generation
  • Nhung Tran-Davis, founder, Children of Vietnam Benevolent Foundation and family doctor
  • Miles Smit, co-founder, Petrarch Institute
  • Ashley Berner, deputy director, Institute for Education Policy John Hopkins School of Education

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