“What does it say?” my grandson asks, as he looks at the chalked message beside the mailbox.
I reply, “It says, ‘Protect your children. Refuse the Draft Curriculum.’”
“What does that mean?” he asks.
I pause and then say, “There are people who want to change what you learn in school and make it so that it’s really really boring. And I’m telling them, ‘No.’”
“Boring” is the most age-appropriate word I could come up with.
Should I have told my grandson I am appalled, disgusted and even frightened by the tasks he will be expected to do in social studies in the new curriculum? None of the curricula currently in use in Alberta now, all developed under PC governments, has ever listed very prescriptive tasks disguised as “skills outcomes.” But the UCP 2021 draft curriculum does.
There’s a Grade 1 social studies outcome that requires my grandson be able to “… explain a chart showing impact of natural disasters on populations.” That means, “use a chart to compare how many people died.”
There’s a Grade 2 outcome requiring he “compare the Black Death with later pandemics, including … COVID-19.” In Grade 2, kids are 6 or 7 years old. Why can’t they just learn about germs, including COVID 19, and how to stay healthy?
In Grade 3, after the students are completely stressed by having had to memorize all the prior history of the European world, there is a mention of slavery in New France. The one required outcome under “skills” is “consider why advertisements would be placed in newspapers offering rewards for the capture of a runaway slave.” Is the answer the enslaved were property and the owners needed cheap labour or the economy would surely have collapsed?
In Grade 4 – Grade 4! – students will work on business plans and the learning outcome is that they develop a business plan for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Our 8- to 9-year olds are required to make their first business plan about how to use cheap immigrant labour to do dangerous work, without costly safety restrictions. “Financial literacy,” UCP style.
In Grade 5, students will finally learn about residential schools and the “survivors.” The quotation may be placed there at the behest of chief social Studies advisor Chris Champion, who once wrote an opinion piece that cast doubt on the suffering of residential school survivors. Recently, in response to the discovery of the remains of 215 indigenous children buried next to a Kamloops school, his Dorchester Review tweeted, “In many cases their parents wanted them there.”
There are so many shockingly inappropriate things in the draft “curriculum”: inappropriate for the child’s age, inappropriate to a coherent sequence of learning, inappropriate in school, period. Tell Adriana LaGrange the government must do better.