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Waiting game for B.C. teachers on grad program changes

BCTF asks for delay of implementation of updated curriculum
TIME NEEDED The BC Teachers' Federation has asked the Ministry of Education to delay the implementation of a new curriculum for Grades 10 through 12, which is scheduled for the 2017-18 school year. shutterstock photo

B.C.'s teachers are hoping for clarification and details on upcoming changes to the Grade 10-12 curriculum, but are no closer to finding out.

"Not knowing how students will be assessed, what's going to happen to them, is a critical concern for us," said Sea to Sky Teachers' Association president Steve Lloyd.

The province's teachers have asked for a delay in implementing the new curriculum, which is set to kick off in the 2017-2018 school year.

"We have to know what we're aiming at and how to get there," said Lloyd. "If we're going to have a course that is more exploratory, more creative and less defined, we have to know. That's where our unease stems from."

The revamped curriculum affects students' graduation requirements, and Lloyd says teachers want to be sure they can be fully familiar with new requirements so they can prepare their students.

The BCTF has made 29 recommendations to the Ministry of Education that include initiatives such as French in kindergarten, fine arts into Grade 11 and 12, and several suggestions that concern aboriginal students, among others.

Lisa McCullough, Sea to Sky School superintendent, says the curriculum in the works for Grade 10 to 12 is still rudimentary. "It's pretty much a framework. It's not enough to dig our teeth into. I think maybe the timeline does need to be looked at," she said.

McCullough said the process for the kindergarten to Grade 9 curriculum — changes for which come into effect this fall — worked exceedingly well.

"There was a substantial amount of time to give teachers time to try it on," she said. "They did a really good job with K to 9."

McCullough said she anticipates an update from the ministry on the grad program in either the spring or the fall.