News / Edmonton

Union fears online attacks against teachers working on new curriculum

It's 'guaranteed’ teachers will be harassed if their names are released, says president.

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The president of an Edmonton Catholic teachers union says it’s “guaranteed” that teachers working on Alberta’s curriculum rewrite will be harassed on social media if their names are released.

Some conservatives have been calling for the release of names, and PC leadership hopeful Jason Kenney has accused the NDP in a video on his Facebook page of doing the rewrite “in secret.”

“Now some poor Grade 3 teacher is going to be hammered (with), ‘You’re a communist, you’re a socialist.’ That’s what’s going to happen if these things are published,” said Edmonton Catholic Local 54 President Greg Carabine, referencing similar attacks against Premier Rachel Notley.

“When we did the last curriculum rewrite, no one even asked who was doing it, and it was almost the same group of people.”

Carabine, a high school chemistry teacher, piloted a previous curriculum review. He said teachers have to make lesson plans for the 20-30 days they will be out of class to work on the rewrite, which means 60 to 100 hours of work without pay.

Carabine also noted it’s the government that will have to approve the decisions in the end, not teachers themselves.

Wildrose Education Critic Leela Aheer has called for the release of the names of every association involved in the expert working groups, but emphasized she does not support releasing the names of teachers.

“There is no reason to go after particular names of teachers in my opinion, but I do want to know the names of these associations. Because those folks are going to be influencing directions of teachers in the curriculum rewrite,” she said.

Alberta’s education ministry hopes to have new K-4 curriculum written by December 2018, Grades 5-9 by 2019, and Grades 9-12 by 2022.