The Politics of Curriculum

Tonight a parent on social media asked if teachers were concerned about the BCTF’s collaboration with the government regarding BC’s new curriculum. Here’s my response:

As a secondary teacher, I can tell you that many, many teachers disagree fundamentally with the direction of this new curriculum. We don’t feel there has been much substantive input, and the feedback we have given certainly isn’t reflected in what is now being published. To me (and to many other teachers on the BCTF discussion forum), the process has appeared very obscure and it looks like teacher consultation was controlled by the BCTF, PSA leadership and a relatively small group of teachers with a very particular philosophy.

By the way, there is a substantial amount of research that supports direct instruction and a careful, scaffolded approach to mastery learning. This seems to be ignored whenever popularizers like Sir Ken assure the masses that the research clearly supports his Rousseauian values. For your own edification, please take a look at some of the research I’ve collected that favours a more traditional, whole-class, and teacher-centered approach to pedagogy. Believe me, progressivist assumptions are not a slam dunk:

At another level, people should indeed be wary of teachers taking the blame if this “innovation” goes the way of Year 2000. To believe at any point that the government would ever properly fund this change is, frankly, unbelievable. I’ve been teaching in the BC public school system for 22 years. When has a government ever properly funded new curricula? As a result, isn’t it a bit disingenuous to be surprised at the current lack of government support?

Well, it’s too late now. The fix is in, and we will own this if there is a backlash from the public.

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