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Bell: Kenney stands firm on new school curriculum

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He doesn’t back down. He does not give in to chatter.

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He doesn’t seem in the least bit fazed by those outraged, breathtaking ballistic in their opposition.

In fact, this file is dear to the heart of Prime Minister Jason Kenney.

He is ready to hold on.

We are talking about an overhaul of the curriculum in Alberta schools and the first thing that needs to be done is an overhaul of the kindergarten to grade 6 curriculum.

The Alberta Teachers Association doesn’t like it.

Such high volume disapproval doesn’t send Kenney back to the drawing board.

“We were elected to deliver an updated curriculum that goes back to the basics of teaching so kids are ready to succeed. We’re not going to back down on this, ”Kenney said earlier this month, revealing that it’s not just an exercise in hard speech.

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The Premier points out that doing it again is a promise he made to Albertans.

Kenney says the movement is needed to “stop the decline in math and reading skills.”

“We need to go back to tried and tested teaching practices. It’s about using what we know that works to make sure kids have strong basic skills, ”he adds.

But there was noise and a lot.

Many school boards are not even willing to test the latest educational offering.

  1. Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) President Jason Schilling

    ATA hosts public forum on widely criticized Alberta K-6 curriculum project

  2. Alberta Teachers' Association President Jason Schilling.

    Poll shows low support for Alberta’s proposed K-6 curriculum, government management of education

  3. Education critic Sarah Hoffman, left, and concerned parent Taylor Schroeter with a petition calling on UCP to scuttle its proposed K-6 curriculum.  The two appeared at a press conference in Edmonton on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

    Opposition to K-6 curriculum project rises as 11,723 parents sign petition

  4. Education Minister Adriana LaGrange speaks to reporters in the Rotunda of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on October 21, 2020.

    Quietly edited K-6 curriculum document draft day in the public feedback process

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Kenney confirms that most of the noise has been around the draft K-6 social studies curriculum.

He compares his government’s plans to those of the previous NDP government, which drew up its own plans.

“I have to remind people that the NDP K-6 social studies curriculum project was a plan for total historical ignorance. There wasn’t a single word in there about how we built this great country.

“There was not a word about Confederation, the rule of law, parliamentary democracy or any of those foundational foundations of our society.

“There was not a word about our military history.”

It really penetrates the human skin.

“I think the great scandal of the Notley government was to offer a curriculum that never once mentioned the 120,000 Canadians who gave their lives to defend our country,” Kenney said.

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“They were whitewashing all this sacrifice of our past and replacing it with a waking leftist political program that Australians call the story of the black armband. It was all about historical injustices. “

The Prime Minister said that schools must teach injustices “but we must also teach young people how we have built an incredible country which is the envy of the world”.

Some accuse Kenney of downplaying the importance of the residential school story.

Kenney says the subject of residential schools is taught in grade 5 instead of the current grade 10.

Critics want it taught sooner.

Kenney defends where the new draft program lands on this one.

“For children to understand the incredible tragedy and crime of residential schools, they must first understand Indigenous peoples.

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“It includes their stories, their accomplishments, the communities they’ve built, their languages, the nobility of their culture. “

Only then can students “fully appreciate the injustice of an effort to crush their culture.”

Kenney finds some reviews bizarre. Like criticism of the content on Christianity.

He says that never before has an Alberta curriculum taught Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

The program is also criticized for introducing young children to some knowledge of early civilizations and world history.

Kenney says the new social studies course offers greater world awareness.

“And yes, shamelessly for Canada.”

As for social studies on colonialism, Kenney has a one-word answer.

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“Ridiculous.”

The Prime Minister says he is open to constructive criticism.

“We don’t pretend it’s perfect. We still have a year ahead of us to make improvements.

He hears that some content may be too advanced for some children in the early years.

“We can fix this problem,” says Kenney

But he “won’t apologize for a second for giving children a basic understanding of who we are, where we come from, the good and the bad.”

You get the impression that the Kenney government is confident about it, believing that a silent majority is on their side and believing that many parents are happy that the curriculum overhaul will challenge their children.

But there is the Alberta Teachers Association. They are not silent. Their allies neither.

“They basically controlled the whole process when the NDP was in power and they don’t like that we consulted more than one union,” the Prime Minister said.

It is not finished. The start of the school year is fast approaching.

[email protected]

Twitter: @sunrickbell

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