Charting the Future of Math Education in Alberta


boy struggling with his homework, holding his hands in his hair

Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies has updated the 'Back to Basics' petition, explaining the state of math education in Alberta, the direction of the curriculum rewrite to date, and the fact her group has been invited to present to the 'expert working groups', who are the key developers of the new curriculum.

The government is still moving towards failed 21st century competency-based methodologies and problem-based pedagogy in combination with reduced skill based outcomes and testing, despite the dramatic drop in math outcomes over the past decade.

PCE supports Dr.Nhung Tran-Davies, and the mathematics and curriculum experts who stand with her,  asking for clear and concise subject-based education skills outcomes and testing to be integrated into the new curriculum to ensure excellence in education in Alberta going forward.

We thank Dr.Nhung Tran Davies, a concerned mother whose unwavering courage and public stance on the failure of Discovery Math, has offered us all a voice as we speak out for a correction in direction of education in Alberta!

For more on the PCE position on curriculum go HERE

For more on the history and issues around Discovery Math go HERE

To sign the 'Back to Basics' petition, go HERE




Thank you and Happy New Year!


Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies

Calmar, Canada

JAN 9, 2017 — 

Dear friends,
Just wanted to send you my regards and to wish you and yours many beautiful blessings this year.

As well, may I express my deepest gratitude to you for having worked through this with me over the past three years. I haven't yet declared victory for the petition because I feel that we cannot become too complacent with our gains while in the midst of still so many uncertainties, because of the Curriculum Review/Redesign, regarding the direction of our children's education.

A few things:
1. Because of you, we have had the support of so many incredible mathematicians -- Dr. Bowman, Dr. Troitsky, Cornelia Bica, Dr. Stokke, Dr. Craigen, and so many more -- and other scientists and engineers like Dr. Ken Porteous and curriculum experts like Stuart Wachowicz, who are all working hard to steer this massive ship against ideology-smitten "educators" who have pirated the system.

2. The following are the changes that have been made because of our advocacy -
2014 -reemphasis on basics and times table, deemphasis on multiple strategies, removal of disparaging words from curriculum re memorization.
2015- reintroduction of standard algorithms as acceptable methods of calculations
2016 - deemphasis on calculators in order to test mastery of skills in Gr 6 and Gr9 PATs, as well as handwritten section in Diploma; hence, expecting teachers to ensure mastery of knowledge and skills through memory work and practice.

3. Because of our disapproval of the inquiry-based "Inspiring Education" push, the gov't had removed references to this initiative; however, only in name. The 2013 Ministerial Order produced under the ill-informed former minister Jeff Johnson is still in place to pave the way for an overemphasis on inquiry-based learning. Languages in the Alberta Education documents re "student-centred", "cross-curricular" and "competencies" are all "21st century learning" words reflecting that the cabal that blindly ascribes to the Jo Boalers, Ken Robinsons and Alfie Kohn's of the education world are still actively trying to sell their snake oil against best evidence, time-proven methodologies, and markers of its inferiority (through such tests as the PISA or Provincial Achievement Testing/Diplomas).

4. Our group has been accepted to make presentations to the "Expert Working Groups" in the coming week as part of the Curriculum Redesign. We will try to rein the Education Ministry in from going overboard with experimental curricular/systemic changes.

5. After this presentation, we may have to wait to see what the final product of the curricular changes look like for our children in late 2018. Hopefully, the government really does listen this time and appreciates the importance of an education system that reflects a high respect for teaching knowledge content (not just competencies), especially from credible sources, ie books and teachers; a great appreciation for the maintenance of rigors in educating young minds; and, a great expectation for high standards of academic excellence.

In the meantime, I am so glad that there are still so many wonderful teachers out there that are taking a stand based on a tradition of excellence and years of knowledge on what it takes to help students succeed.

Also very happy to see so many other parental groups such as CAPSC and PCE also speaking up re the concerns of our children's education. Please contact me if you can help us in any way as we monitor what is happening to our children's education. My apologies ahead of time that I am terrible with keeping up with emails.

Until next time.

Kindest regards,
Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies [email protected]

p.s. This is an important read

To sign the 'Back to Basics' petition, go HERE