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McAllister, parents push for math curriculum overhaul

EDMONTON, AB (March 11, 2014): Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister today introduced Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies to the Alberta Legislature and joined her in calling for an overhaul of the math curriculum to ensure students once again master the fundamentals of mathematics.

 Dr. Tran-Davies is a Calmar parent who has spearheaded a petition with nearly 10,000 signatures on it already asking Alberta Education to make sure “the curriculum will once again go back to embracing the basics so that our children can be empowered by mastering the fundamentals of mathematics.” Over the last several years, Alberta Education has moved away from teaching basic math skills – such as memorizing multiplication tables – toward what is called “discovery learning,” which encourages students to invent their own learning techniques and strategies. “Alberta students are graduating from our education system less prepared than ever to succeed in the job market and it’s because Alberta Education is foisting this flawed learning method upon them,” McAllister said. “It’s time for Alberta Education to return to sound learning methods so our children are prepared for the future.” McAllister notes Alberta students' performance in international testing has dropped off. As of 2012, Alberta ranked 13th in the world on the Program for International Assessment (PISA), a drastic slide from being second in the world in 2003. The number of students who are math illiterate in Alberta has doubled in that same time. In 2003, 7.4% of students failed the PISA test. In 2012, that number jumped to 15%. “All we want for our children, as Isaac Newton stated, is for them to ‘see further, because they are standing on the shoulders of giants,’” Tran-Davies said.