Education (6-12): Current Problems

AB


October 21, 2021


Curriculum Revisions

Alberta Curriculum advisors ignore Métis input

CBC – Curriculum advisers hand-picked by the Alberta government are recommending changes to the kindergarten-to-Grade 4 curriculum for fine arts and social studies that would eliminate all references to residential schools and “equity.” The advisers also recommend that seven- and eight-year-olds learn about feudalism, Chinese dynasties and Homer’s Odyssey in social studies classes. Curriculum experts familiar with the province’s process say the suggestions are a huge departure from where work was heading before the United Conservative Party was elected in 2019. Some education experts also say the proposed changes are regressive, racist, unsupported by research and would put Alberta’s school curriculum vastly out of step with most of North America. Dwayne Donald, an associate professor of education at the University of Alberta, is an expert in Indigenous teaching and curriculum. He said he felt hopeful about the potential for the previously proposed elementary curriculum to better include Indigenous perspectives. The suggested changes erase all of that work, he said.


May 25, 2021


Curriculum Revisions

Alberta Curriculum advisors ignore Métis input

CBC – Some Alberta Indigenous leaders and an elder say the provincial government has used them or misrepresented their positions to gain endorsements for a new elementary school curriculum they do not support…Last month, the Sovereign Nations of Treaty Eight wrote to Premier Jason Kenney telling him to revisit the draft curriculum. The letter, co-signed by Laboucan, says the “glaring absence” of First Nations people from the writing process is “deeply offensive.”…After facing criticism last year for initially hiring a slate of all-male, mostly white curriculum advisers, the Alberta government asked five Indigenous elders to review the material and provide feedback.

One was Betty Letendre, a Métis residential school survivor who has worked for years with Edmonton schools to help teach students about Indigenous history and culture. She said the government on multiple occasions handed the group of mostly senior citizens hundreds of pages of documents and gave them one day, or a few days, to respond. They weren’t allowed to consult any other experts and the conditions were inadequate for providing meaningful feedback, she said. She feels the government took advantage of her position and identity. Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has said in the legislature that all of Letendre’s feedback was included in the drafts. Letendre disputes this, and says mentions of Indigenous people and history appear as an afterthought.


March 31, 2021


Curriculum Revisions

Alberta Curriculum advisors ignore Métis input

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) – is calling on the Government of Alberta to redraft its proposed K-6 curriculum, citing monumental concerns about the Euro-American colonial undertones. The MNA and its education and training affiliate Rupertsland Institute had very little input into the design of the curriculum despite several attempts to be included in the committees that were established. In a letter to Alberta’s Minister of Education, MNA expressed deep concerns about the lack of transparency by the government of Alberta leading up to the release of the draft curriculum, which breaches the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) principles.

“This is another example of Alberta’s continued colonial practice over Métis peoples,” said Poitras. “The secretive approach under which this process was taken undermines the collective approach valued by our communities and it is unacceptable.” The MNA calls on the Minister of Education to re-draft the K-6 curriculum in collaboration with the Métis and other Indigenous groups in Alberta to address concerns about UNDRIP and allow the government to uphold recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to abolish colonialism in this province.


May 3, 2021


Systemic Racism

Alberta: Human Rights Strategy

The Alberta Human Rights Commission has released a “draft” Indigenous Human Rights Strategy to reduce systemic racism that Indigenous individuals and communities face in health, education, child welfare, housing, and justice (including policing and corrections) systems. Research, data, and information collected from consultations with key stakeholders indicate that systemic racism—in the health, education, child welfare, housing, and justice (including policing and corrections) systems—is a major issue facing Indigenous Peoples in Alberta. The overarching goals of this strategy are:

1. To help address and reduce systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in health, education, child welfare, housing, and justice (including policing and corrections) systems.
2. To work with communities throughout Alberta to address the racism and discrimination Indigenous people encounter in their day-to-day lives.
3. To build capacity and knowledge within and across the Commission to ensure we can serve Indigenous individuals and communities with respect. This must address the accessibility of our processes, relevance of our educational material, and our awareness of the lived experiences of Indigenous Peoples, in all their diversity.
4. To strengthen and expand Commission’s relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations.