Letters to the editor

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Voice your objections to draft curriculum

Albertans have been asked to chime in on a hasty K-6 curriculum rewrite to supposedly rescue our children from the dark arts of critical thinking and false gods of humanism so they can employ the magic of the invisible hand and study the “real” gods of antiquity and monotheistic religions.

In social studies, what was before a focus on democratic participation has now become an early lesson about how to create a service or product, turn it into a business, and make a little money for yourself.

Perhaps I’m underestimating the ability of Alberta’s elementary students to reconcile citizenship with taking your cut, but what is more troubling is the absence of digital literacy. Given the relentless onslaught of misinformation and disinformation, it’s surprising that there is no more than a single reference to bias and critical thinking.

It’s fair to say that curriculum rewrites are always political, but the beauty of a democracy is that well-informed citizens can get politically engaged to temper poor political decisions. If you worry that parts of the proposed curriculum might not adequately prepare our children to participate in and repair what is currently a very fragile democracy, then give Alberta Learning your feedback.

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C.R. Woelfle

We need grads with critical-thinking skills

I was doing some critical thinking today. That is where you gather information and look for patterns, then choose an informed best path forward.

For the second year in a row, Education Minister LaGrange has made a major move just as spring break happens. Last year, it was to lay off classroom aides. This year, she proposes a new curriculum focused on memorizing data, not gathering information, or thinking about it and synthesizing useful answers. Nicely timed to impair communication between and among the producers (parents and teachers) of the education system.

I thought about what employers, the consumers of the education system such as the CEOs of oil companies, would be looking for in employees. Rather than people who memorized dates and names, they are probably looking for people able to gather information, organize it into patterns and then draw out key insights so that companies work better. That takes critical thinking. LaGrange’s proposed new curriculum is not that. It is a regressive step that produces people who can do work which robots can do better as robots have better memories.

It is unfortunate I did not know Mr. Kenney’s grandfather was a jazz musician but that memorized fact will not help my critical thinking until the next election.

Ted Bentley

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