Cur­ricu­lum du jour

The Packet (Clarenville) - - EDITORIAL -

In Al­berta last week, a lead­er­ship can­di­date for the United Con­ser­va­tive Party was talk­ing about the changes he’d like to see made in that province’s cur­ricu­lum. “We would fo­cus on en­hanc­ing the cur­ricu­lum from an Al­berta per­spec­tive, by im­prov­ing fi­nan­cial, his­tor­i­cal and en­ergy lit­er­acy,” Brian Jean told the CBC. “Al­berta’s the best province in the best coun­try in the world, and our stu­dents need to be taught ex­actly that.”

Jean’s com­plain­ing, in part, about an on­go­ing six-year, $64-mil­lion over­haul of the province’s K-12 cur­ricu­lum.

Jean sug­gests he would “re­verse any ide­o­log­i­cal cur­ricu­lum changes the NDP make,” while his pol­icy states, “from what we have seen in the so­cial stud­ies cur­ricu­lum, there is far more em­pha­sis on ide­o­log­i­cal so­cial change than in pre­serv­ing what makes Al­berta one of the best places to live in hu­man his­tory.”

Stop.

Just stop.

Young minds aren’t meant to be in­doc­tri­nated into the ide­ol­ogy of what­ever the mind­set of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment is — they’re meant to get the best ed­u­ca­tional footing they can, in the best cir­cum­stances they can learn in.

In this province, we’re also in the midst of a re­view, with a task force sug­gest­ing changes to ev­ery­thing from in­clu­sive teach­ing to stu­dent men­tal health and in ba­sic math and read­ing cur­ricu­lum.

It’s good, it’s over­due, but across the coun­try, you get a strange feel­ing that you can hear the sound of wheels be­ing rein­vented.

Man­i­toba is promis­ing a sys­tem-wide ed­u­ca­tion re­view, Saskatchewan launched one last Novem­ber, On­tario re­leased its plan for im­prov­ing the qual­ity and delivery of ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion for stu­dents in ru­ral and North­ern com­mu­ni­ties in June, Nova Sco­tia is ex­pect­ing an in­de­pen­dent re­view of that province’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem by the end of this year, and the list goes on. The mes­sage seems to be to cam­paign provin­cially on a prom­ise of ed­u­ca­tion re­form, be­cause no one’s ever sat­is­fied with the sys­tem that’s in place.

Are the needs of stu­dents in the K-12 sys­tem re­ally all that dif­fer­ent across the na­tion? Couldn’t there be one cross-coun­try model for ed­u­ca­tion — with space for re­gional his­tory and so­cial stud­ies com­po­nents — that would give equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for early ed­u­ca­tion right across the coun­try?

Ob­vi­ously, ed­u­ca­tion is a touch­stone for vot­ers, es­pe­cially vot­ers with chil­dren in the sys­tem. But the end­less re­views — and the end­less calls for re­views when cross-coun­try stan­dards show how dif­fer­ently stu­dents are per­form­ing — sug­gest that there might well be a place for a na­tional model. A model that comes with a na­tional cur­ricu­lum, na­tion­ally mea­sured goals and stan­dards, and a mech­a­nism for help­ing areas that have dif­fi­culty reach­ing those stan­dards.

It’s not so much that it should be one size fits all — but more that, with the 11 or 12 sizes we’re try­ing on now, noth­ing seems to fit prop­erly.

Surely we can do bet­ter — and not by hav­ing an­other round of match­ing in­di­vid­ual re­views right across the na­tion.

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