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Fix our math curriculum before another year is lost


Education Minister Jeff Johnson should listen to the growing chorus of parents, teachers and experts.

EDMONTON, AB (April 14, 2014): Education Minister Jeff Johnson should listen to the growing chorus of parents, teachers and experts telling him to fix Alberta’s math curriculum before the start of the next school year, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today.

On Saturday, McAllister joined hundreds of concerned parents and teachers who rallied on the steps of the Alberta Legislature Building, asking Johnson to increase emphasis on core math concepts like times tables, long division and vertical addition to Alberta’s education curriculum in time for the next academic year. He said ‘discovery math’ hasn’t worked in other provinces and it isn’t working here.

“Manitoba took note of the problems ‘discovery math’ caused students, after parents, teachers and experts sounded the alarm,” McAllister said. “They immediately revised the curriculum to include the math basics. The Minister should take a lesson from our Manitoba neighbours, and fix his broken curriculum before another year is lost.”

McAllister said Johnson takes too much curriculum advice from bureaucrats and not enough from front line experts. He pointed to the fact Greg Bass, Johnson’s Deputy Minister, tweeted a message suggesting math experts shouldn’t have a seat at the table inside Alberta Education when he said mathematicians and math professors are not the best advisors on math pedagogy.

“The fact is, experts from across the province are speaking out against ‘discovery math,’ and the Minister and his deputy are choosing to discredit their opinions instead of listening to their expertise,” McAllister said. “These are the experts and they’re being ignored.”

More than 13,000 Alberta parents and teachers have now signed a petition authored by education advocate Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies, urging Johnson to do the right thing and return math fundamentals to the Alberta curriculum. McAllister said Dr. Tran-Davies deserves a meeting with Johnson for all her hard work. So far, Johnson has refused.