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Aheer calls for a pause in the implementation of UCP’s K-6 curriculum in Alberta

“You cannot expect a curriculum of this magnitude to be implemented the way it is (being) envisioned, and that is why so many mistakes have been made along the way. That’s why I want to put a break on it.”

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UCP leadership hopeful Leela Aheer is calling on the government to postpone a K-6 curriculum that has drawn controversy and criticism for more than a year.

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In an interview with Postmedia on Wednesday, the former cabinet minister and MP for Chestermere-Strathmore said the province had rushed the deployment.

“Implementation is completely broken – it’s just too fast,” Aheer said.

“You cannot expect a curriculum of this magnitude to be implemented the way it (is) envisioned, and that is why so many mistakes have been made along the way. That’s why I want to take a break on that,” she said.

Since the release of the first draft in March 2021, the government has been gathering feedback, revising some topics and staggering their release. Three finalized subjects will be required in classrooms in September, including K-3 math and English language arts, and K-6 physical education and well-being . All K-6 subjects are expected to be implemented province-wide in fall 2024.

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Aheer acknowledged that if elected party leader and prime minister on October 6, these new materials will already be in classrooms and cannot be taken away, but she would “do everything in her power to help teachers.” “.

Aheer emphasized the need to regain the trust of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and to gain buy-in from the teachers who will be implementing the program. She added that teachers are resilient, but there remain questions about the supports and resources that will be there to support them.

The government has pledged $59 million this school year for professional teacher training and resources to ensure students are equipped for updated materials in the classroom.

Postmedia sent questions to the eight UCP leadership campaigns asking whether they support the program materials as written and how they would approach the issue if elected.

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Aheer calls for a pause in the implementation of UCP’s K-6 curriculum in Alberta
Former Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz is running for the leadership of the United Conservative Party. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia, file

Leadership candidate and former Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz said in a statement that she’s been hearing positive feedback on topics like math, English and financial literacy.

“However, there are areas where teachers, parents and Albertans feel we need to do better – I am committed to doing better and that starts with restoring Albertans’ confidence in the process,” she said. declared.

Former Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a statement that the politicization of the curriculum renewal process is not in the interests of students and must stop.

“I fully support the broad public and stakeholder engagement that has taken place over the past year. They listened to Albertans and they made changes where necessary, the result is a strong math and English program for our K-6 students,” he said, adding that in As prime minister, his administration would continue to make adjustments while listening to feedback from stakeholders.

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Former Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney did not respond on Wednesday, but speaking on Real Talk with Ryan Jespersen last week, said she would not abandon the scheme altogether in its current form.

“We’ve all heard the noise around the curriculum, and that’s also something I want to take a closer look at, and make sure all the right people are at the decision-making table, and that their voices are reflected…and that includes teachers, professionals and other stakeholders,” Sawhney said, adding that she wanted to understand what elements are “deemed unnecessary” by teachers.

Amisk Mayor Bill Rock said in an email Wednesday that he hasn’t heard much comment on the issue, but plans to meet with parents and teachers involved.

“All I can say is that they were disappointed with the consultation,” he said.

Spokespersons for the leadership campaigns of Central-Peace MLA Notley Todd Loewen, former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Brian Jean did not provide answers at the time of put to press.

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