NWT ponders change to B.C. curriculum amid Alberta changes

R. J. Simpson speaks in the Legislative Assembly. (Screenshot from GNWT live stream.)
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Alberta’s NDP party has said they have trustworthy sources who are saying the GNWT are planning to switch their curriculum to mirror BC’s curriculum.

This comes after changes to the Albertan curriculum which would see schools minimize teaching about residential schools, among other things.

In an email statement, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment said the GNWT has not made any decisions yet regarding the use of Alberta curriculum or any other jurisdictions’ curriculum.

Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party, says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s curriculum represents the needs of education consultant Chris Champion, a former colleague of Kenney, rather than those of students and teachers.

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“Mr. Champion is on the record calling for the teaching of First Nations perspectives, a fad,” said Notley during a press conference. 

“He’s argued to remove teaching about residential schools because it’s just too sad,” she added. “This kind of backward looking and quite frankly racist attitude to the curriculum is just not acceptable. Clearly, the Northwest Territories feels the same way.”

Christina Carrigan, an ECE spokesperson said any information on a timeline of how long a potential change would take, and how much it would cost wouldn’t be available until a decision was made.

“No decisions around a change of curriculum have been made at this time, and will not be without input from Indigenous Governments and Key Educational Stakeholders, including elected NWT Education Leaders,” they said.

Carrigan added that the NWT’s current curriculum uses a mixture of curriculums adapted or adopted from other jurisdictions in Canada, with some created in the NWT.

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“Although much of NWT curriculum is Alberta’s, especially at the high school level, ECE also draws parts of its curriculum from other Western Canadian provinces as well,” she added.

Justin Marshall, a spokesperson for the Albertan government wrote on Twitter that the GNWT education minister R.J. Simpson met with the Albertan Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and said the GNWT is going through its normal curriculum review process, and will look at a number of provinces’ curriculums.

“Minister Simpson says his government is looking forward to reviewing the draft K-6 curriculum once it is public and they have made no decisions,” the post read. “Minister LaGrange has been clear that the draft curriculum will include First Nations, indigenous and Metis perspectives.”

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