Support Our Students Alberta Foundation, as a public education advocacy organization, and a citizens action group has several concerns regarding the Ministry of Education Curriculum Panel Review as released January 29, 2020.
Minister Adriana LaGrange indicated that the Ministry has listened to Alberta parents.
Provide students with opportunities to learn outside the classroom, including experiences with elements of the workforce and community involvement. There is value in exposing students to experiences outside the classroom that can build awareness and opportunities on the variety of career paths and choices available to them. Learning is strengthened when students learn in the context of real-world experience and work. Curriculum can be delivered in many ways beyond the classroom context, including in workplaces and employment settings. Curriculum should be flexible to deal with alternative skills models outside the classroom.
9.1 Undertake an examination of curriculum that can be delivered in a dual structure, similar to the Germanic Model, exploring the definition of skilled trades and how students acquire these skills
9.2 Expose students to practical work and learning outside the classroom, including participating in volunteer activities that engage students and benefit local communities.
17.2 Implement a systematic approach that uses standardized formative assessment tools in the evaluation of literacy and numeracy, in grades 1 through grade 5. These can identify where students may require additional support and enable the use of appropriate interventions at the earliest possible stages”
17.5 Explore other ways that standardized testing can be used to ensure public confidence.
We urge Minister Lagrange to hold open consultation with Alberta citizens in ways that are more open and transparent than online surveys. As an organization we have already FOIP’d the Choice in Education Survey which is proving a large barrier to public information.
Dear Hon. Adriana Lagrange, Minister of Education,
Recently you have made public comments, including on the Danielle Smith Show (December 17, 2019), that Support Our Students Alberta has not sought a meeting with you like other groups have. Presumably, you hope to undermine the concerns of Albertans by suggesting that their concerns are illegitimate without a closed-door meeting.
Our answer is simple: we are public education advocates who advocate in public; we have nothing further to present in secret, closed door meetings. Our position is transparent to all Albertans in the “10 Strategies for Equitable Public Education” which is available on our website. We have included it again here for your convenience.
It is true that we have not requested a meeting with you, nor have we requested a meeting with a sitting Minister of Education for the previous three years. We would like to clarify that Support Our Students Alberta is not a lobby group, we are a citizens action group. Our goal is to inform, organize and equip Albertans so that if and when they decide to meet with you, their MLA, their trustee or their school staff, they are well informed on what universal, equitable and accessible public education means for Albertans.
If you do feel your policy position could be influenced from hearing the voices of concerned Albertans directly, we urge you to listen to the over 5,600 Albertans who have written letters to you through our letter-writing campaign. The vast majority have not heard a response from you or their MLA’s. Many have requested meetings to no avail; those few who have met with MLA’s have been met with indifference. We yield to them, Minister.
10 Strategies to Achieve Equitable Public Education
If you require further information please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
In the meantime, we will continue our work equipping Albertans and advocating for public education.
Team SOS Alberta