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Letters to the Editor March 16

Posted on March 16, 2022 by Taber Times

Standing up to the new draft curriculum

Dear Editor:

Why should parents and grandparents stand up and fight the draft curriculum? Because there is no one else left. The teachers, academics and school boards have been protesting for a year, and nothing substantial has changed. Show up at the protests in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, or Red Deer on April 2. Or alert local media to your own local protest April 1 or 2, even if it’s just chalking messages on the sidewalk at the MLA’s office or on the public sidewalk at school. For more information go to http://www.ditchthedraft.ca/

Three subjects are being implemented in K-6 in September 2022: Math, English Language Arts and Literature (ELAL) and Phys Ed/Wellness.

Phys Ed/Wellness. Next year when parents ask, “What did you do in gym today?” students may answer “Financial Literacy.” Desk work. For 12-year-olds: mutual funds and bad debt.  Or perhaps the child will reply, “Wellness. We learned about consent.” Where young children facing a potential abuser learn they  just need to communicate refusal clearly. Or maybe the child will say, “Today we had to study stuff for the test.” Because there is a “knowledge” column for Phys Ed of stuff that has to be “learned,” and an alarming amount of the outcomes in the “skills and procedures” column also use verbs that involve no movement at all. The draft Phys Ed/Wellness curriculum is a sad piece of work that needs a do-over. Math: Instead of developing a deep understanding of number relationships and using analysis in problem-solving, students will apply a “standard algorithm” to everything.  “Standard algorithm” is mentioned 26 times, but no examples of a “standard algorithm” are given. Additionally, careless errors with sequencing mean certain failure for children. In Grade 3 students must “Convert commonly used units of measure between metric and Canadian (imperial) units within 100.” This will involve multiplying decimals but children won’t learn decimals until Grade 4 and won’t learn multiplying them until Grade 6. Grade 2s work with numbers to 1,000 and add and subtract two-digit numbers, but place value isn’t taught until Grade 3.  The draft Math also needs a do-over.

ELAL: The teaching of phonics will be done through a lockstep program that was developed in haste for the piloting year and then was only tested for six months instead of the full year. Now it will be prescribed material for the next 10-30 years. There is also a focus on teaching sight words in isolation, from prescribed lists, but the lists are not even published in the curriculum! In both cases the instruction is divorced from reading words in context and understanding what is read, which should be the main goals of reading instruction. After three years of rigid programming in phonics and common sight words, in Grades 4-6 prescribed reading includes Shakespeare, Aristotle, Cicero and dramatic works from ancient Greece or Rome. Do-over!

Parents, grandparents, members of the public, make yourselves seen and heard on April 2. Protest the draft curriculum. Our children deserve better than this.

Karen Green,

Sherwood Park

A warning around slashing healthcare and education

Dear Editor:

Our friends in southern Alberta need to be warned about what these reformers are planning with their promise of a lot more privatization of healthcare.

Kenney has hired Dr. Janice MacKinnon who was a finance minister for the NDP party in Saskatchewan and was credited with closing 52 rural hospitals and getting the NDP defeated by the Brad Wall Conservatives. It’s obvious she was hired to do the same thing here.

If that’s not bad enough, the retired doctors tell us that if he goes through with his plans for a lot more privatization of health care to fix the long waiting list for surgeries he deliberately created doctors will not remain in rural Alberta. They will flock to these private-for-profit clinics and hospitals in the cities with the promise of more money, making it very easy to close rural hospitals. It will put lives at risk. We think they are right.

While Jason Kenney brags about our huge oil windfall, he still finds it smart to slash funding to healthcare and our education systems creating a nightmare for doctors, nurses, teachers and students. These are the most important people in our lives and deserve our respect but get none from these phoney conservatives , Reformers , who are only interested in looking after their rich friends, and forcing a lot more privatization onto our backs.

You can bet our hero Peter Lougheed would never have been this foolish.

Alan K. Spiller,

Edmonton

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