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Saskatoon Christian school textbook raises curriculum concerns at legislature

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Saskatoon Christian school textbook raises curriculum concerns at legislature
A biology textbook used in a Saskatoon Christian school that states dinosaurs and people co-existed was used to raise curriculum concerns at the Saskatchewan legislature Thursday – Nov 3, 2022

A biology textbook used in a Saskatoon Christian school that states dinosaurs and people co-existed was used to raise curriculum concerns at the Saskatchewan legislature Thursday.

“Biblical and scientific evidence tend to support the idea that men and dinosaurs existed at the same time.”

That’s from a biology textbook from Legacy Christian Academy (LCA).

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LCA is a Qualified Independent School (QIS), which receives funding from the provincial government, and the Saskatchewan NDP asked during question period Thursday why the Ministry of Education allowed QISs to teach curriculum saying that people and dinosaurs lived together.

“Not all Bible scholars agree on the time that Job lived since there is little within the Bible to pin-point a date. In any case it would be illogical for God to ask Job to think of something with which he was not familiar. Although Job may never have seen these animals, it is safe to assume he was at least familiar with oral traditions about them. This is a good indication that man was alive at the same time as dinosaurs,” read the textbook.

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The textbook also uses dragons to reinforce the idea.

“The recurring ‘dragon’ theme in folklore helps support the idea of the dinosaur’s coexistence with man.”

Education Critic Matt Love called for the administrator reports on QISs to be released publicly.

He also claimed that Minister of Education Dustin Duncan’s timeline surrounding the LCA abuse allegations was false.

Duncan has said in the past that they were made aware of allegations of abuse on Aug. 9

Caitlin Erickson, Stefanie Hutchinson and Coy Nolin, former students of LCA, filed a lawsuit against Mile Two Church Inc. that operates LCA.

Multiple students have come forward with allegations of physical and sexual abuse while they attended LCA.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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Since the allegations, the province has said it made a number of regulations changes to independent schools, including the appointment of administrators for three of the schools.

Erickson, Hutchinson and Nolin were invited to the legislature by Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck, who questioned “why it took so long to address serious abuse allegations in qualified independent schools”.

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Beck also asked if Premier Scott Moe would meet with the former students today, as Erickson said she has tried to reach out to the premier multiple times.

“I’ve reached out to the premier’s office a few times, and no response,” Erickson said.

“Considering I am one of his constituents in his area I find it concerning that I can’t even get an email back from my premier.”

She added it’s been disheartening to see Moe not give an answer when questioned why there hasn’t been a meeting set up yet.

Erickson said she just wants to relay some of her concerns, and wants to have a discussion.

“Really it’s about not having this happen again, not having a lapse of regulations, not letting something go unregulated for this amount of time. And it’s about children never going through the kinds of things we’ve gone through,” Erickson said.

“We’ve had a lot of adults that have been in a position of authority that have failed us over and over and over, and sitting today in legislature kind of feels like a repeat of that.”

Erickson claimed she could provide emails showing that Duncan’s timeline was false.

“There’s no debate, because I can provide emails. So there’s an email on June 20, and then I also have a response email back from the Ministry of Education’s office. So they were aware.”

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Erickson claimed there were other issues within the curriculum for LCA, alleging that it had racist and sexist content.

“At the time when I was in Grade 12, we weren’t allowed to question, and there’s no other reference material for us to access,” Erickson claimed.

“There’s no broad discussions happening, there’s no development of critical thinking. So it wasn’t until I was in university that I had to relearn a few things.”

Erickson said the curriculum used at LCA when she attended was called ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) curriculum and SAICS (Saskatchewan Association of Independent Church Schools), and claimed it was still being used today.

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“Another issue that is a little bit concerning is that the province of Alberta will not publicly fund ACE schools, or accredit them as we found out. So it’s kind of concerning that the province of Saskatchewan is saying that’s ok for education.”

“This type of curriculum enforces indoctrination, it doesn’t further learning,” Erickson claimed.

Erickson described the booklets as a self-taught education system that’s not teacher-taught.

She said that kids sit in a cubicle and memorize the material.

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“In the ACE curriculum there’s highly inappropriate comics inside all these booklets. And a lot of them are very sexist. There’s things on women submitting to men,” Erickson claimed.

Duncan said in 2012 that there was a regulation put in place that QISs had to follow the Saskatchewan curriculum set out by the Ministry of Education, and that it was his expectation that QISs were following those regulations.

“As a part of the supervised visits that do take place, part of that is looking at curriculum, looking at teachers’ work plans to make sure they are abiding by the Saskatchewan curriculum,” Duncan said.

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When given the examples in the LCA biology textbook, Duncan said they may have to look at more frequent inspections and reviews of QIS curriculum.

When asked why he wouldn’t remove curriculum, he said the ministry gives out recommendations for resources to be used.

“It has not been raised with me by the ministry in terms of looking at the outcomes of students that the students are not achieving the outcomes set out by the curriculum in Saskatchewan,” Duncan said.

He added that he didn’t know enough about ACE curriculum.

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Duncan said it’s up to parents to decide where their kids get educated.

“We give them a choice, and if they don’t want that for their children they don’t have to be there. Nobody is forced to attend these schools.”

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