Members' Update

ATA president responds to new social studies curriculum development

Teachers are strongly encouraged to take an active role in new engagement efforts to help shape the next social studies curriculum for Alberta.

The Government of Alberta announced a new plan to work on social studies curriculum development after it was suspended in the fall 2021. The previous draft social studies curriculum has been abandoned, and a new development process will begin with broad consultation involving teachers, education partners and the public.

ATA president Jason Schilling says that teachers, along with other notable allies, can take credit for mounting a strong opposition to the previous, regressive draft curriculum.

“This new plan puts social studies curriculum development back on track and headed in a better direction. I appreciate Minister Nicolaides for his commitment to real and effective consultation.”

—ATA President Jason Schilling

Alberta Education has launched an online survey and discussion guide asking Albertans about what should be included in a new social studies curriculum, which will remain open until October 16, 2023.

Through the fall, the ministry will be meeting with teachers, education partners and other organizations to inform the development of the new scope and sequence for social studies. A draft curriculum document will be released in early 2024 and left open for further public engagement. Piloting will occur throughout the entire next school year with full implementation scheduled for fall 2025.

“Teachers must play a key role in curriculum development in order for implementation to succeed. Comprehensive, thoughtful and authentic engagement with teachers, education partners and the public are critical to the process.”

—ATA President Jason Schilling

Schilling says that the new direction for social studies should avoid problems that exist in other subject areas. He would like to see this approach taken with other subject areas and on other issues facing public education.

“Concerns remain around some of the new curriculum currently being implemented. Math, in particular, needs to be given a second look, as students are struggling given the excessive number of outcomes and the poor sequencing of them. I’m hopeful these issues can be discussed and resolved.”

—ATA President Jason Schilling