Alberta government brings back 8 pedagogical advisers to work in upper classes

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Eight advisers who helped craft the controversial new versions of Alberta’s elementary school curriculum are back at work in the upper grades, CBC News has learned.

The provincial government initially refused to disclose which “subject matter experts” had been hired to provide advice on developing a new college and high school curriculum.

A list, obtained following an access to information request, shows that eight previous elementary curriculum advisors were hired to work in the upper grades as of March 29 – the day the elementary drafts were released. been made public.

Each will complete a maximum of 40 days of work on the program until August 31, and will be paid $ 400 per day for their efforts, according to published information.

None have yet been identified as offering expertise from an Indigenous or Black perspective.

“The current roster of subject matter experts is not final, and other areas of expertise will of course be added as the work progresses,” said Eliza Snider, Acting Press Officer from Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, in an email.

She would not say if the government has hired additional advisers since May, when the freedom of information request was filed.

On the checklist for curriculum development for grades 7-10 are:

  • Paul Bennett, Educational Advisor in Halifax and Former Principal of a Private School, Social Studies
  • David Chorney, High School Teacher at the University of Alberta, Wellness
  • Melissa From, CEO, Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta, Financial Literacy
  • Donna Holstine Vander Valk, Life Coach and Coach in Oral Communication, English Arts and Literature
  • Cameron Macdonell, Professor of Computer Science at MacEwan University, Science
  • Annie Prud’homme-Généreux, Director of Continuing Studies, Capilano University, BC, Sciences
  • Srilata Ravi, professor of French literature at Campus Saint-Jean, French and French literature
  • Vladimir Troitsky, professor of mathematics at the University of Alberta, mathematics

The advisers contacted by Radio-Canada did not respond or referred questions to the government.

Missing from the list is Chris Champion, a former social studies advisor who downplayed the harms of residential schools and called First Nations education efforts “fad.”

Some educators with curriculum and subject matter expertise say they are frustrated that the government is bringing in the same advisers.

“What this also shows is that they are unwilling to change the current project,” said Richelle Marynowski, associate dean and associate professor of mathematics education at the University of Lethbridge.

She is concerned about the accuracy and age adequacy of the proposed elementary math curriculum.

“They are unwilling to make adjustments and they want these people to continue what they have been doing. It shows me that there was no listening to what people said about the program. “she said.

She said the contribution of math experts is important, but they don’t have training on how children learn or how best to develop children’s understanding over the years.

Angela Grace, a psychologist specializing in school wellness and eating disorder prevention, said part of the elementary school wellness curriculum could be detrimental to students.

She said he takes an outdated and inappropriate approach to body image, weight and food choices.

“If the elementary curriculum is so flawed and the same people write junior high, then it’s going to get exponentially worse,” she said.

Snider said Alberta Education is committed to listening and working with parents, education partners and Albertans to make improvements to the curriculum project.

Feedback gathered from an online survey and engagement sessions will be “critical before finalizing the content” and will inform the development of future notes, Snider said.

The government should abandon the whole project: expert

Grace and Marynowski are part of a chorus of educators opposed to the United Conservative Party government’s direction on the curriculum.

The Alberta Association of Deans of Education has launched a website for scientific analysis.

Dozens of teachers in the Black Gold school division examined the drafts and found problems with each topic.

Elk Island Public Schools Hired Retired Curriculum Consultant Janice Aubry review the drafts. She wrote and designed curriculum for Alberta Education and Edmonton Public Schools.

His report says the drafts are fatally flawed in both content and structure, and will fall short of the province’s goal of improving students’ international test scores.

“It is strongly recommended that the Ministry of Education abandon this program, return to the draft program 2018 [or a refined version of that draft], and start piloting this project, ”writes Aubry.


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