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Alberta wants parents and teachers to join panels to advise education minister

Click to play video: 'Alberta school boards advised to focus on fundamentals for grades K to 6' Alberta school boards advised to focus on fundamentals for grades K to 6
Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announces that school boards in the province have been advised to focus on the fundamentals for students in kindergarten to Grade 6 after COVID-19 forced them to learn from home. – May 5, 2021

The Alberta government is asking parents and teachers to provide more input on the education system by creating two panels of 40 people to work with the education minister.

There will be a Parent Advisory Council and a Teacher Advisory Council. Council members will serve a 10-month term that aligns with the school year. Members will attend up to four meetings with the minister per term.

Read more: Alberta education minister and province’s teachers swap accusations of politicizing curriculum

Anyone interested in taking part can apply online here. Applications close Aug. 31. Council members will be announced in the fall.

Read more: Social studies, religion, Indigenous history sections of proposed Alberta curriculum under fire

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“As a parent of seven children who went through the Alberta education system, I know how important the voices of parents and teachers are,” Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in a statement.

“Creating these two advisory councils provides another way for parents and teachers to share their views on education policies and initiatives as we work to improve outcomes for students.

“I encourage any interested parent or teacher to apply, and I look forward to hearing the valuable input they will provide.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta Teachers’ Association pass non-confidence vote on education minister with 99% in favour' Alberta Teachers’ Association pass non-confidence vote on education minister with 99% in favour
Alberta Teachers’ Association pass non-confidence vote on education minister with 99% in favour – May 23, 2021

LaGrange, and her handling of the draft K-6 curriculum, have been under the microscope recently.

The Opposition NDP slammed LaGrange for “botching” the new draft Alberta K-9 curriculum “that has been overwhelmingly rejected by school districts, parents, Francophone groups and Indigenous communities, as well as teachers,” NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said.

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Read more: Cree Elder who reviewed Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum says she can’t endorse it

The Alberta Teachers’ Association has publicly stated the proposed learning plan is “fatally flawed, and teachers, academics and curriculum experts should work on a revised version.”

ATA president Jason Schilling said in April the group was “essentially shut out” from the curriculum review process.

Read more: ATA says 91% of Alberta teachers against draft curriculum, doubts UCP will listen to critics

Several major Alberta school districts stated they won’t be piloting the draft K-6 curriculum in the fall, including the Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic Schools, Edmonton Public Schools, the Edmonton Catholic School Board and the Lethbridge School District.

Click to play video: 'Expert explains concerns with Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum' Expert explains concerns with Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum
Expert explains concerns with Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum – Apr 10, 2021

NDP leader Rachel Notley pointed out the premier decided to keep LaGrange in her position as education minister “despite her disastrous curriculum work,” when he announced a cabinet shuffle on Friday.

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Read more: Alberta premier shuffles cabinet amid renewed focus on economic recovery post-pandemic

Jason Kenney stood by his senior cabinet members.

“I am entrusted with appointing people to executive responsibilities based on their ability in a number of criteria. I think all of those ministers have done a fantastic job,” Kenney said. “This has been a challenging time.”

Click to play video: 'Political analysis of Alberta cabinet shuffle' Political analysis of Alberta cabinet shuffle
Political analysis of Alberta cabinet shuffle – Jul 8, 2021

 

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