October-in-review: K-4 curriculum draft, election readiness & more

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UPDATES

1. New K-4 curriculum draft released

On October 10th, the new K-4 curriculum draft was unveiled and is now available on the Learn Alberta website.

In terms of a timeline, an Edmonton Journal article stated “select classrooms will begin testing the new [curriculum] requirements at an undetermined time in 2019... The new lessons could hit classrooms across the province by 2020, officials said at a Wednesday morning technical briefing.”

For more information, visit the Alberta Education curriculum development FAQ page.

 

2. Knowledge is power… have you equipped yourself yet?

Perhaps you’ve encountered some of the following excuses regarding changes to law from Bill 10 and 24:

  • “GSAs are harmless peer support groups for teenagers - stop making a big deal about kids getting the support they need.”
  • “If my kids can’t talk to me, I’d want them to have someone they could talk to at school.”
  • “Don’t worry, schools will make sure there’s a staff member in charge of the club and activities so they are appropriate for kids and consistent with the school’s mission and identity.”

Learn how to respond effectively and factually to these common excuses and several others through Part C of our newest Toolkit resource.

In order to respond to common excuses and educate others, including on social media, feel free to copy and paste quotes from the PCE Toolkit and include a reference link directly to the Toolkit. 

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3. Getting ready for a provincial election

In order to equip Albertans in preparation for an anticipated provincial election, PCE has started compiling information on political party education-choice positions in essential key areas of advocacy: curriculum, funding and parental consent/notification.

Visit our new webpage “Political Party Positions on Education Choice”, which will continue to be updated regularly.

As you come across any published news stories that include political party leader comments, positions or any political party website links - whether for or against education choice - please email dtrimble@parentchoice.ca with the link for PCE’s consideration.

As a parent-run, parent-driven advocacy organization we thank each one of you, who are the strength of Parents for Choice in Education.

 

 

4. Thousands of children could lose the school they love… Keep the pressure on!

Last month PCE released the shocking news that Alberta Education commanded faith-based schools to scrub references to such terms as “truth” from their "Safe and Caring" school policies or risk losing funding and/or accreditation.

Thank you to the following media reports which have helped increase public awareness of this aggressive attack on faith-based students and their families:

- “NDP's attack on religious schools violates the Charterwritten by Calgary Herald columnist Licia Corbella 

- “Alberta NDP send ‘rainbow reprimand’ to faith-based schools. Who’s the bully?” - Sheila Gunn Reid interview with Donna Trimble, Executive Director of PCE

- “Alberta NDP Government wants to ban statements of faith in private schools” - NewsTalk 770 Danielle Smith radio interview with John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

- “Government Threatens Christian Schools” - Faith Beyond Belief video

- “A religious liberty fight in Canada” - World Radio news report including comments from a principal of one of the affected schools

On October 15th the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms published an update, including the following excerpt:

“Various schools responded to this ‘rainbow reprimand’ by asking simple and direct questions about how or why the religious content of their school policies was contrary to “diversity” or contrary to providing a safe, welcoming, caring and respectful learning environment. 

Alberta Education responded with a form response (1, 2) that cited only “the opinion of the Minister” to support Alberta Education’s conclusion that these schools’ religious beliefs, expressed in their own school policies, were unacceptable.”  [READ MORE]

We urge you to keep the pressure on! 

Invest time to engage in some or several of the action items, available at the end of a recent PCE blog article, for the sake of thousands of Alberta students, parents and teachers who need your help to defend the school they love.

We recently added a valuable phone support guide, produced by another organization named ARPA, to our action items. 

Extra tip when you phone: make sure you ask the receptionist to repeat your concern back to you in order to ensure that it is copied and summarized accurately.

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IN THE NEWS

Included below are a number of recently published education-related articles.

 

More than 40 per cent of Grade 9 CBE students failed math PAT

Calgary Herald, 2018.10.19

“We are in a state of crisis with math,” said Sarah Bieber of the Kids Come First parent advocacy group.

"Provincewide, Grade 9 math was also poor, with only 66.7 per cent of students passing the PAT last year, a more than 10-per-cent drop from 75.5 per cent in 2016-17." [READ MORE]

Note: A few days after this article released, another Calgary Herald article was published revealing “shockingly low numbers for pass scores on the Grade 6 & 9 math provincial achievement tests, 41% and 42% respectively.  For anyone wanting more in-depth information regarding PAT data, you can also visit Alberta Education’s PAT results webpage.

 

Beth Green: Private schools form an important part of B.C.'s school system

Vancouver Sun, 2018.10.26

"independent schools contribute to educating the whole person, not just academically but socially."

"Many Canadians worry about the loss of civility in our culture, the decline in how welcoming our country is and a drop in charitable giving. There’s evidence that B.C. independent schools are helping to counteract those negative trends."  [READ MORE]

 

MLA defends public funding for private schools

Olds Albertan, 2018.10.28

“When it comes to choice in education, it seems we must now fight to preserve what was once considered an automatic right… the best place to start is by setting the record straight on independent schools.” [READ MORE]

 

CARPAY: David Eggen is bullying Alberta’s religious schools into dropping religious policies

Post-Millennial, 2018.10.16

“Arrogance and bullying aside, the government is attacking the integrity of schools, by insisting that a school’s core beliefs, unique character and guiding principles cannot permeate and influence every aspect of a school’s policies and activities.  This is profoundly disrespectful of diversity, but that irony is lost on Eggen.”  [READ MORE]