Open letter to Alberta parents, teachers and students from Education Minister Eggen

February 25, 2019 - 5:00pm

My friends,

I’m writing about an issue that’s important to every student, parent, aunt, uncle, and grandparent in this province.

What I am talking about?

UCP leader Jason Kenney’s plan to turn back the clock on our kids by shredding the new curriculum in our schools. It was an ambitious, $60-million project that would span nearly a decade and require thousands of teachers, experts and parents to devote countless hours of their time.

And it was absolutely necessary.

You see, some of our current curriculum is 30 years old. It predates the Internet. It’s older than many of the teachers at the head of our classrooms.

Alberta’s economy is diversifying and what our youngsters are taught must change accordingly.

We must address real concerns with our math curriculum, work to improve literacy and give our students important life skills, like teaching them how to balance a household budget.

We need to make it clear that climate change is real and foster discussion about the future of our planet.

We need to better recognize reconciliation.

We need to update archaic thinking around LGBTQ rights.

We need to teach students about consent.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This work has progressed tremendously well thanks to many of you. More than 100,000 Albertans have engaged in this work so far through working groups, roundtable discussions, telephone town halls and online surveys. These discussions will continue.

We now have a draft of the updated Kindergarten to Grade 4 curriculum on our website for you to look at (https://education.alberta.ca/curriculum-development). There’s nothing secret about where we’re proposing to take education in this province.

We’re so close to seeing through real change.

Jason Kenney wants to stop us dead in our tracks.

Actually, he’s gone further, stating he wants to take the curriculum that Albertans built together and put it through the shredder.

He’s playing political games, drumming up conspiracy theories to try to vilify our teachers and strike fear into the hearts of parents. If we fall victim to his deception, our students will suffer.

We will continue to rely on outdated thinking, aging textbooks and lesson plans.

Mr. Kenney is scared of progress. He has deemed consent, same-sex marriage and reconciliation as “fads.” Should he really be in charge of your child’s education?

And there’s more. He has talked openly about cutting or freezing spending, meaning the 15,000 new students we expect to attend Alberta schools this fall will do so without an adequate number of teachers or proper supports.

We can do better than this and we must.

I was a teacher for 20 years. Let me tell you that those schools and the students learning inside of them will suffer under Jason Kenney’s plan.

I’m calling on all of you send a clear message to Mr. Kenney that he can’t play political games with our kids.

Thanks for listening,

David Eggen,

Alberta’s Minister of Education

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of rdnewsNOW or the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Column suggestions and letters to the editor can be sent to [email protected]

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