EDMONTON, AB (March 26, 2014): Education Minister Jeff Johnson must officially declare his comments about making the memorization of basic math facts more “front-and-centre” in Alberta schools, if he meant them, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today. Under Johnson’s new “discovery math” curriculum, students are no longer required to memorize basic math facts like times tables.
Due to mounting criticism, however, Johnson agreed Tuesday to “weave” the memorization of basic math facts back into his new-age program. McAllister called Johnson’s off-the-cuff remarks a small victory for parents, teachers and students, but said they leave a lot to be desired. “I’m not quite sold,” McAllister said. “Will this change happen this year? Will it stretch into other core math areas such as division, subtraction and addition? Will the Minister quit disparaging conventional math teaching methods altogether or is this a one-off? If the Minister is serious, he needs to clarify his comments in an official press release or by papers introduced to the legislature.” McAllister applauded the hard work of parents and teachers like Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies, who organized a petition that received more than 12,000 signatures on it, urging Johnson to return to the tried, tested and true methods of teaching math to kids. He said Johnson needs to consult more with real experts – parents and teachers – before he makes any more drastic changes to Alberta’s education curriculum. “Dr. Tran-Davies’ petition isn’t just about times tables,” McAllister said. “It’s about re-emphasizing the most conventional teaching methods throughout kindergarten to grade twelve and empowering our kids with the core competencies they’ll need for university and the labour market. The Minister needs to sit down and consult with more front line experts like Dr. Tran-Davies and less political bureaucrats.”
Bruce McAllister Chestermere-Rocky View Bruce McAllister was elected on April 23, 2012 as the MLA for Chestermere-Rocky View, and acts as the Wildrose Education and Advanced Education critic.