In another baffling move, documents have leaked detailing some recommended changes to the UCP’s education curriculum.
CBC obtained drafts submitted by 17 curriculum advisers that were handpicked by the UCP government that had recommended changes from Kindergarten to Grade 4 for fine arts and social studies.
Within, they state five and six-year-olds in Grade 1 should recognize work from Claude Monet (French painter), Georgia O’Keeffe (American painter), Pablo Picasso (Spanish painter) and Edgar Degas (French painter).
First-grader recommendations also include that students should learn Bible and First Nations verses about creation and poetry “not being taught as doctrine, but as tradition.”
There are also recommendations for students to name “three great religions that worship one God”, and they should be able to identify religious symbols.
Learning about religion is much different from teaching religion and we hope that separation continues in public schools.
While there are no doubt many students of faith in any given public school, there are also many who are not.
Public schools are not churches and there needs to be separation there, especially since parents already have the choice to send their kids to faith- based schools.
Further on in the documents, it also states fourth-graders should learn that most non-white Albertans are Christians, which is just such a blatant stereotype.
“Most Albertans of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Filipino back-ground belong to various Christian denominations,” reads a portion of the document.
Why this would need to be taught to fourth graders as part of the curriculum in the first place is questionable at best.
The biggest takeaway, and the one getting the most media attention from the proposed changes within the curriculum, comes from the removal of all references to residential schools and equity, deeming stories around residential schools would be too sad for younger students.
What would be sad is removing the hundreds of true stories of what was done to many Indigenous families for generations when kids were forced into residential schools across the country.
Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families with the Canadian government’s goal to eliminate Indigenous languages and culture, and to replace it with the English language and Christian beliefs.
And while residential schools are looked as something that happened a long time ago and something we’ve moved past as Canadians, the last one was just closed in 1996 in Saskatchewan.
How are younger generations supposed to learn from past mistakes if they are scrubbed from schools and talked about in secret?
Canadian history, and there is plenty of good and bad throughout the 100 plus years, should continue to be in classrooms across the country.
Another big highlight from the document is lists of names, landmarks and events that young students should memorize.
Learning, and we’re sure teachers would agree, is more than just memorizing and regurgitating information on a piece of paper back to the teacher.
Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has come out stating these are all just recommendations and residential schools will continue to be taught in schools, but has yet to confirm which grade that will start at.
The good news, and like what we’ve seen from the proposed assessment changes earlier this summer, these are just recommendations that can easily be thrown in the trash.
LaGrange also stated working groups of subject-area experts which includes teachers, will review the curriculum sometime soon with the elementary school curriculum being released to the public early next year.
We can only hope they go back to the drawing board and come up with some better recommendations for education curriculums moving forward.