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School districts ask for delay on curriculum

Educators not ready to start teaching new course structure

At a recent two-day meeting in Victoria attended by school superintendents, secretary-treasurers and board chairs from across the province, a clear message was sent to the BC Ministry of Education.

According to School District 47 (SD47) board chair Doug Skinner, deputy minister of education Dave Byng was told “loud and clear” that the districts were not in favour of implementing the new curriculum for grades 10 to 12 before the 2017/18 school year.

Along with the redesigned curriculum, the ministry’s initial plan was also to have new reporting and assessment practices in place between 2016 and 2018.

Skinner said most districts are now wanting the process delayed because educators have been communicating concerns through a flurry of letters that they are not ready.

“There simply has not been enough information from government,” he said. “People who are teaching at the 10 to 12 level just feel that there needs to be more time.”

Letters are being sent to the government from districts across the province requesting the delay and Skinner said he expects to see more in that regard.

“We were able to voice our opinion,” said SD47 superintendent Jay Yule. “The deputy minister acknowledged clearly that he had heard from the field that we feel it should be delayed. It has to do not only with the implementation of the curriculum but also the assessment practises that need to go along with it, and the report card, so it’s all in one.”

According to Yule, the new curriculum is only part of the discussion between the province and school districts.

“The actual implementation of the curriculum is just one piece of it,” said Yule. “But it’s the grad program, knowing what the grad program is, knowing what the new assessments will be and reporting to parents. It’s that whole package that I don’t think is quite there.”

Skinner said the school districts are hoping the ministry will make a decision by the end of this school year.