Alberta Teachers’ Association president calls for curriculum advisor to be dismissed after racist articles surface

The adviser in question, Chris Champion, was the lead staffer under then IRCC minister Kenney on citizenship and the point person on the citizenship guide, Discover Canada, which remains in use.

My account of the development of the guide and some of the issues and challenges can be found in ch 2 of Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism. While discussions were at times intense, we had the opportunity to provide our advice and comments and maintained a good working relationship.

Although Discover Canada improved coverage of Indigenous history compared to the earlier vapid, A Look at Canada, the unreleased draft guide will have more in-depth discussion of Indigenous peoples. Hard to know why, almost five years since then Minister McCallum promised a revision, still not released.

Equally hard to imagine one making such a comment about Indigenous histories being a “fad” in 2019, both substantively and politically:

On Wednesday August 27, 2020 the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) called for the resignation of a Dr. Chris Champion from the Alberta Curriculum Review Panel.

It was recently brought to light that the member of the Alberta Curriculum Review Panel – which was made in order for the UCP Government to overhaul and review the previous NDP school curriculum – was a writer of racist articles which was titled “Alberta’s Little History War,” which called the inclusion of First Nation perspectives in school lessons a “fad.”

This particular article was written just last year, and it was written by Dr. Champion who is advising the social studies curriculum of Alberta.

The ATA, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, safeguards standards of professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.

In a news release by the ATA, an advisor who has called the inclusion of First Nations perspectives in school lessons a fad needs to be dismissed from his role in advising on Alberta’s social studies curriculum, says ATA President Jason Schilling.

“Minister LaGrange, Chris Champion has got to go,” said Schilling.

Given the well-documented writingsand publications that have recently surfaced, Schilling says that Chris Champion has no place advising the curriculum writing work currently under way in Alberta.

“Champion’s appointment to advise curriculum is in direct opposition to the Joint Commitment to Action that both Alberta Education and the ATA signed in 2016. The minister must either dismiss Champion or rescind its endorsement of the Joint Commitment.”

In June 2016, the Joint Commitment to Action was signed by representatives of the Government of Alberta, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and five Alberta education stakeholder organizations as part of an enduring commitment to respond to the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Schilling says that in his school re-entry meeting with Minister LaGrange on August 19, he told the minister that they needed another meeting dedicated to discussing curriculum and that Champion had to go.

Acknowledging that the Association has been almost exclusively focused on a safe return to schools in September, Schilling says the Association regrets not issuing an earlier statement on this important matter.

This is just the latest in the story of the Albertan Government’s racist employees. There is not only Dr. Chris Champion, but there is still Jason Kenney’s racist speechwriter Paul Bunner. The ATA is just the latest to call for the firing of either of the racist state employees; the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta (SSISA), Grand Chiefs of Treaty 8, Chiefs of Treaty Six, the Blackfoot Confederacy, and the Assembly of First Nations regional chief for Alberta have also voiced their concerns.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-alberta-teachers-association-president-calls-for-curriculum-advisor-to/

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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