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Education

Alberta NDP says NWT is about to ditch province’s curriculum


The Northwest Territories is on the verge of dropping Alberta’s school curriculum in favour of one from British Columbia, Alberta NDP said on Monday.

In the course of questioning Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, the province’s NDP deputy leader, Sarah Hoffman, stated: “The NWT is imminently announcing that they are going to end their relationship with Alberta and that they’re going to be instead teaching British Columbia’s curriculum.”

The NWT currently uses Alberta’s curriculum as the territory is too small to fund the development of its own. However, the territory was unnerved by that province’s updated curriculum, which was panned by experts and not developed with the territory’s input.

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A decision on the source of the next NWT curriculum was expected in August or September but has yet to be announced.

Christina Carrigan, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, Culture, and Employment, said by email on Tuesday that education minister RJ Simpson “is expected to make a decision and announcement on a provincial partnership before the holidays. Until then we won’t be commenting on Alberta-based discussions related to their curriculum.”

In April, education officials presenting an update to NWT MLAs said the BC curriculum was easily the best fit for the territory across four key criteria.

At the time, however, those officials had received no access to the new Alberta curriculum. They said they would inspect that curriculum before finalizing their recommendation.

Simpson said in April counterparts in BC had been “very receptive” to the NWT’s inquiries about its curriculum, “understanding that we’re not making a decision right now, we’re exploring the opportunity.”

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An adapted version of BC’s curriculum is already used by the Yukon.

Hoffman followed her pronouncement in the Alberta legislature by telling Kenney: “Ninety-five percent of Alberta teachers don’t support this premier’s curriculum. Nearly every school board has refused to pilot it in their classrooms. Parents were shut out, racists were invited in, and this is the result.”

Kenney, in response, claimed the new curriculum would include a “1,000-percent increase [in] references to Indigenous people.”

“There may need to be improvements and changes, and we’re listening actively,” said Kenney, “but what we won’t do is impose a left-wing ideological curriculum on Alberta kids, like the NDP sought to do.”

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